It seems as though the administration’s vacillation between not having a strategy and being ready to execute a three-year regional conflict, and their oscillation between calling it a war and just an extension of the 13-year-long campaign against al-Qaeda, has taken a toll on the public’s confidence. Americans want Obama to confront the threat posed by ISIS, but they don’t have much confidence that he is the man for that job.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll taken after Obama’s Wednesday night speech to the nation addressing the ISIS threat and his plan to address it found the president did little to assuage the concerns of Americans about his approach to the Islamic State. Almost seven in 10 Americans lack confidence in the U.S. strategy to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, which consists of using coalition air assets to roll back the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria while relying on local partner networks to serve as the “boots on the ground.”
“The poll – conducted before the latest execution emerged – showed that a combined 68 percent of Americans say they have ‘very little’ or ‘just some’ confidence that Obama’s goals of degrading and eliminating the threat posed by ISIS will be achieved,” an NBC News report read. “Just 28 percent said they had ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a bit’ of confidence. Still, 62 percent of voters say they support Obama’s decision to take action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while 22 percent oppose it.”
The poll found that Obama’s speech helped convince more Americans that it was necessary to engage in military action against ISIS, with 68 agreeing to the need to attack the Islamic State while 65 percent agreed the week before. But only 38 percent of the public surveyed expressed support for the president’s handling of foreign affairs.
While 26 percent of those surveyed the week prior had a more favorable impression of the president after his Wednesday speech, 20 percent had a less favorable impression of Obama. 53 percent said his speech did not make an impression on them either way.
A factor possibly contributing to the public’s lack of faith in the White House’s ability to prosecute a war against ISIS competently, aside from the dubious strategy, may be the administration’s abject cynicism in their efforts to seek the legal authority from the people’s representatives for this new war.
Shocking the conscious of those small-minded fools who concern themselves with consistency, the administration claimed over the weekend that the 2002 authorization that allowed the Bush administration to go to war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq – an authorization the White House requested in writing that the Congress repeal as recently as late July – also allows Obama to conduct a war in Iraq and Syria against ISIS today.
Since the Islamic State arose and presented itself as a clear threat to the United States and civilization as a whole, the administration has displayed contempt for the public and faithlessness in the American system. It will take a lot more than a prime time speech to repair that damage.