Obama escapes Washington, where bad news keeps piling up

WASHINGTON — President Obama has fled the White House for the peace and serenity of the beaches and golf links of Martha’s Vineyard, leaving behind a mess of polls with failure written all over them.

In the sweltering dog days of August, Obama has left town for a one-week vacation, hoping to escape the many troubles that plague his presidency: a declining economy, his job approval polls in a nose dive, and the latest news that the vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the country’s direction under his policies.

The Gallup Poll this week shows his job approval marks falling to the low 40s, and “three-quarters of Americans are now dissatisfied” with our country’s direction, up sharply from 68 percent in July.

While the news media seem to remind us almost hourly that the Republicans are also unpopular, Gallup’s pollsters find that public satisfaction with the Democrats (the people who kill all those House GOP budget cuts) has sunk seven points in this month alone, to 37 percent.

“At 22 percent, U.S. satisfaction with the direction of the country is the lowest Gallup has seen since March,” the polling organization reported Tuesday.

Obama may be able to temporarily run from his failing grades, but he can’t hide from them. More than half of all Americans now disapprove of the job he is doing, and it’s not hard to see why.

The economy is not getting stronger in the fifth year of his presidency; it’s getting weaker, growing in the last three months by little more than 1 percent. “We’re still very much living through what amounts to a low-grade depression,” writes New York Times economist Paul Krugman, one of Obama’s earliest supporters.

Americans are suffering from a dearth of good-paying, full-time jobs. “Since January, 833,000 more Americans reported working part-time,” while almost 100,000 fewer Americans have full-time positions, says economist Peter Morici.

Having trouble finding a job? Millions of Americans say they can’t find one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 240,000 adults left the labor force and stopped looking for work in July.

Black unemployment is 12.6 percent and Hispanic unemployment is nearly 10 percent. Obama doesn’t talk about this, which may be why he doesn’t vacation in his home state of Illinois, where more than 9 percent are out of work.

Throw in higher rents across the country, an average of $3.60 for a gallon of regular gas, a declining stock market that’s shrinking worker retirement funds, and one can understand why Americans aren’t happy with this president.

The war on terrorism isn’t going so well, either. Indeed, Obama dropped President Bush’s declared “war on terror” when he became president, hoping to reach out and make nice with the Muslim world.

When that didn’t work in his first four years, he ran for re-election insisting that al-Qaida was “on the run” and that its terrorist ranks had been decimated. But events over the past year tell a far different story.

Al-Qaida has expanded its reach throughout the Middle East and across North Africa, and stepped up its presence and a much more lethal offensive in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead of being “decimated,” as we were told, al-Qaida leaders have been lobbing threats of attacks against the United States, forcing the White House to shut down nearly 20 embassies abroad and putting us on a higher alert here at home.

But the growing terrorist threat under Obama’s policies of retreat and retrenchment doesn’t stop there. In its lead story Tuesday, The Washington Post ran this headline: “Al-Qaida’s Iraq affiliate expands presence in Syria.” A subhead states that al-Qaida is “gaining regional dimensions”

“A rebranded version of Iraq’s al-Qaida affiliate is surging onto the front lines of the war in neighboring Syria, expanding into territory seized by other rebel groups and carving out the kind of sanctuaries that the U.S. military spent more than a decade fighting to prevent in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Post reported.

The widening terrorist insurgency, now calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, “has been bolstered by an influx of thousands of foreign fighters from the region and beyond,” the Post said.

Does this sound like al-Qaida is, as Obama boasted, “on the run”?