Good News, Bad News For Obama

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - July 06, 2011

A number of items are jamming the “Mostly Politics” agenda this week, starting with: President Barack Obama, born, despite the continued doubts of 27 percent of Republicans across our great nation, in Hawaii nei.

According to, 47 percent of the American people approve of Obama’s handling of his job.

Unfortunately for the president, another 47 percent disapprove.

Asked how they feel about the “direction of the country,” 28 percent think its heading in the right direction, but a whopping 64 percent think the direction wrong, wrong, wrong.

None of these numbers sound good for our very own keiki o ka aina. But some do, namely polling that shows that only 18.5 percent of the folks approve of the performance of Congress; 74.5 disapprove.

The noise out of Congress for the past twoand-a-half years has come primarily from the the Republican minority in the Senate and the present GOP/Tea Party majority in the House, and disapproval of that cacophony may be found in dismal approval rating. Maybe.

Then there are the presidential horse-race polls. Currently Obama beats Sarah Palin by 19 percentage points, Tea Partier Michelle Bachman by 16, Herman Cain by 16, Newt Gingrich by 15, Jon Huntsman by 14, and Libertarian Ron Paul by 11.

There’s comfort for the president in those numbers, but not in a contest against Mitt Romney. Obama bests the former Massachusetts governor by only 4.5 percent. The Republican right may find Romney too tepid, but political Independents are obviously drawn to him.

So what’s Obama to do? Precisely what he did in his press conference last week: Take the battle to the Republicans on their unwillingness to raise taxes on the nation’s super rich. “If you are a wealthy CEO or hedge fund manager in America right now,” said Obama, “your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They are lower than they have been since the 1950s. And they can afford it.”

Item No. 2. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about alternative energy development. A former student named Dale sent me a picture of the photovoltaic system he had installed on the roof of his Waipahu home. Dale wrote: “I installed 20 panels on our home last summer and have not regretted that decision one bit. With the very generous rebates from both the Fed and State coffers, I ended up having to pay only 12 grand out of the 30 grand up-front expense. I’ll be free and clear in five years’ time.

“It’s simply amazing that my electric bill is 18 bucks per month (service charge) and the best part is that the Princess and I no longer argue, fight, yell or scream about leaving lights on.” That’s surely worth 18 bucks per month.

But regarding another form of alternative energy, I received an email from my lone Maui reader. Call him Jim because ... well, that’s his name. Jim attached a picture of a field of wind turbines he took from the observation car of a train traversing a desert in the Great Southwest. They did not make a pretty sight, even in a desert.

Item No. 3. Gov. Neil Abercrombie has taken a heap of criticism of late for his “ranting” on various issues, from nurses’ salaries to paying $4 million of taxpayer money to the NFL owners for the privilege of hosting their all-stars’ sham of a football game.

The criticism leaves me scratching my head. Have we no memory? Neil’s been ranting, to mostly good and occasionally bad effect, for more than 40 years. It is, indeed, part of his charm sufficient charm to win him 10 years in the state Legislature, one term on the Honolulu City Council, 20 years in the United States House of Representatives and the governorship.

Rant on, your excellency, rant on.

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