On the eve of the State of the Union Address, there are some things in politics I understand.
I understand why I like President Barack Obama. I understand why there are people who have a different political philosophy and therefore don't like him. I understand, too, why there are people who have a similar philosophy politically but are disappointed with the president. And I even understand why there are people who gallingly, viscerally hate everything about President Obama and whose core goes into a a raging, twisted turmoil at the mere mention of his name, because I understand that irrationality exists, as does racism, and that for some people it's easier to let other people do their thinking for them.
But there are also some things I don't even begin to understand.
Two months ago, the Republican Party won control of both houses of Congress in a sweeping electoral victory against the Democratic Party, led by President Barack Obama. And in a new ABC-Washington Post poll, Mr. Obama's job approval rate shot up 9 points, his disapproval plummeted 10 points, and he now sits at a 50-44 approval, his highest in 18 months. Further, the public says it trusts President Obama by a margin of 40-36 to handle the issues more than it does the Republican Party that they just voted into power,
Gee, go figure.
One can only imagine how badly the Democratic Party would have been crushed in the election if the public actually disapproved of the job its leader was doing.
On one hand, it's easy to see why the president's approval numbers have skyrocketed. The economy continues to dramatically improve, and the public response recognizes that. The ABC-Wapo Poll shows that the public today rates the economy favorably by an huge increase of 14 points over the previous month, now at 41 percent.
Polls show that the vast majority of the public is very satisfied with their health care under Mr. Obama's Affordable Care Act. Unemployment has dropped all the way to 5.8 percent, lower even than the 6% Mr. Romney had promised during the 2012 elections that he could get it to. (That's the lowest unemployment has been in nearly seven years since the economy collapsed under George W. Bush.) In addition, jobs have increased for 53 consecutive months. And the budget deficit has plummeted a billion dollars, now at $486 billion, down from $1.4 trillion the year President Obama took office.
Keep in mind, that all of these things didn't just happen in November right after the elections. They take time, not things that -- whammo -- magically occur overnight. It's the direction that unemployment, jobs and the budget deficit have been going for a long while. And the public shows that they approve of it all.
Except for that pesky part of going to the polls and voting that way.
Yes, yes, I can do some convoluted analysis to explain why all this happened this way. But it's convoluted, and as much sense as you make of it...it makes no sense.
We love you. Now go away.
As the song says, you're going to miss me when I'm gone.
Or, as voters are now being reminded of that old adage after voting in the Republicans to control both houses -- be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.
... on the other hand, inexplicable and head-banging as this might be for Democrats in the immediate short-term, it bodes positively for 2016. Not only is a growing economy likely to continue to improve, and not only are voters who are already approving the president only two months after a crushing defeat likely to continue to approve as we get even farther away from that defeat, but the GOP has shown little inclination to govern, let alone have bold ideas, other than do away with "Obamacare" (which people seem to like) and cut taxes, which mainly benefit the wealthy. Which means as the next election approaches, and voters look to see what little Republicans have done with their two-house control and what growth has come from the president's issues, these current odd poll results could cause big problems long-term for Republicans.
Two years is a long time, so no predictions have any value. But the facts before us are intriguing to keep in mind as those two years move forward. And as the House doorkeeper tonight announces to the joint session of Congress -- "Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States...!!"
To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.