Obama’s image has been his strongest asset. Every presidency mixes symbolism and substance. On substance, Obama’s has been at best mixed. For coming on five years, the economy has been below average, and the federal budget historically bad. His biggest accomplishment has been Obamacare, which daily seems less popular.
But on symbolism, he has excelled. So many wanted him to succeed, even as they wished his policies would not. As polls have consistently showed, he has always been far more liked than supported.
These scandals go right at this greatest strength.
Yet because his greatest strength has been personal, it never translated to commensurate political strength. His approval/disapproval rating was essentially split going into the scandals. Nor was it broad-based, but concentrated in liberals plus enough moderates. It is easy to see the balance now negatively tilting and his support being even more concentrated.
To make matters worse, the scandals are almost tailored to match his opponents’ narratives: weak on defense; political profiling; Chicago shakedowns, and abuse of power.