How to explain Barack Obama’s dramatically declining approval numbers? Well, there’s the fact that five years of Obamanomics has brought America to its lowest civilian workforce participation rate from about the decade average at the beginning of the June 2009 recovery to a 36-year low. The passage of ObamaCare turned out to be the most competent part of the whole thing, and the rollout has been an utter disaster. On top of that, our foreign policy is at its lowest ebb since Jimmy Carter, and it’s clear now that the Obama administration didn’t bother to prepare for threats in places where even a child could see them. Plus, there’s that whole Lie of the Year — “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

The President has another theory. Apparently he thinks that people suddenly discovered his ethnicity:

Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle. In the electoral realm, ironically, the country may be more racially divided than it has been in a generation. Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.” The latter group has been less in evidence of late.

Er … riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. In order to buy this nonsense, one would have to believe that millions of people approved of him despite his ethnicity for several years before deciding over the last few months to discover their inner Bull Connor. And that just coincided with Obama’s biggest blunders and the exposure of his dishonesty in selling ObamaCare to the public.

Besides that, conservatives need to shut up about subsidiarity and devolved powers because of the Civil War:

“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”

The answer to that is that people in Massachusetts should have their resources go to taking care of people in Massachusetts, not because they don’t care about people in Mississippi, but because they can’t control outcomes there. When states and communities retain control of their own resources, they have much more accountability as to how the resources get used and their effectiveness in resolving the issues. There is room for the federal government in these efforts, but by and large the federal government’s bureaucractic overhead and lack of accountability offers far more opportunity for bloat, misuse, abuse, and waste. The principle of subsidiarity allows more resources to go to the needy rather than bureaucrats, and has the added benefit of cutting lobbyists off at the knees.

By the way, Obama and the Democrats just usurped the role of states in regulating health insurance. How’s that working out? Who’s been held accountable at the federal level for the failures? Exactly.

The Civil War has been over for 149 years. Wickard vs Filburn has only been with us half that time, and that’s what led to the massive overgrowth of federal power, not the end of the Civil War. The principle of subsidiarity in American government survived for many decades past that point, and survived well until the Supreme Court rewrote the Constitution.

At any rate, blaming his sudden drop in popularity after several years of inflated approvals despite the performance of his administration is a demagogic dodge. Obama’s low approval numbers are a direct and rational result of the performance of his administration, from his failed stimulus to the Lie of the Year, from the Russian “reset” to Benghazi and his Syria collapse, and especially after the utterly incompetent rollout of a web portal after 42 months of development. This is just whining from the Commander in Chief, and an insult to the same Americans who elected him twice to the office.

But hey, if you want to distract people from your own failures, blame the people for noticing those, I suppose.

Update: My friend Teresa Kopec added this thought:

 


 


 

That’s a fair point, and I do think some conservatives are too quick to dismiss the fact that government-sponsored racism — apartheid of a sort, really — is still within living memory of many Americans. That, however, does not mean that people who believe in smaller government and subsidiarity are proto-racists who want to reimpose Jim Crow, and that’s suddenly Obama’s approval-ratings problem. Both of those are nonsense.