State of the Union

Pew: Americans Say Obama is a "Good Man" Who is "Incompetent"

While most of us will be tuning out tonight's SOTU, here's a reason to watch: It frames the president's thinking about the next year.


As President Obama finishes the touches on his seventh State of the Union Address, to be delivered tonight at 9 P.M. Eastern Time (come to for live blogging and tweeting), here's something he can chew on: Pew Research asked Americans to sum him up in one word.

The most popular choices? "Good/Good man" and "Incompetent." Intelligent is well represented as is "idiot/dumb/stupid," honest, dictator, liar, awesome, and arrogant.

In the interest of #realkeeping, George W. Bush was viewed similarly at this point in his presidency:

At a comparable point in his presidency, incompetent, arrogant andhonest were frequently used descriptions of George W. Bush. Bush's approval rating was lower than Obama's (33% for Bush then, 47% for Obama today) and negative terms were used more frequently to describe him.

Which seems about right.

While most of us will be tuning out tonight's speech, Jack Shafer, now writing at Politico, says the annual speech "isn't completely useless." It's the only speech a prez can expect all the networks to cover, writes Shafer, and there's this:

According to research conducted by political scientists Donna R. Hoffman and Alison D. Howard, about 40 percent of the requests a president makes in a State of the Union speech are enacted in some form as law—a batting average the major leagues haven't seen since Ted Williams. Perhaps presidents have inflated their batting averages by including sure-bet legislative proposals in addresses, but the addresses still frame the White House's intentions, clarify the direction the president's budget will take, focus press corps coverage, and help structure the legislative agenda. Language about an

issue into the State of the Union also has a tendency to increase the public's sense of urgency about it. One study of addresses from 1946 to 2003 found that every 50 words devoted by a president to an issue resulted in a 2 percentage point increase (sometimes temporary) in the public's identification of the issue as America's most important problem. Laugh if you want to, but political revolutions are won by 2 percentage point swings, even temporary ones.

Read the whole thing.

According to Veronique de Rugy's tally here last Friday, Obama batted considerably lower that .400 when it comes to last year's SOTU. Indeed, very few of his proposals became a reality (that's a good  thing). Check it out here.

NEXT: The State of the Union Address Will Be Awful, Because the State of the Union Address Is Always Awful

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  1. Even the gay dyslexics know that a hard man is good to find.

    1. *narrrows gaze on behalf of Swiss S*

  2. So many articles about “the State of the Union sucks, and we aren’t watching it!”

    1. Then for the next week or more, it will be “here’s what you missed in the state of the union.”

      1. It’s a weird obsession – is the State of the Union an old girlfriend they just can’t get over?

        1. Sort of. It is a giant nerd prom that the other media nerds all get invited to but the Reason nerds don’t. When you understand that, then all of the passive aggressiveness makes sense. It is just the reason nerds telling the other beltway nerds “we don’t want to go to your stupid state of the union address anyway.”.

          1. Shikha Dalmia always attends the State of the Union, but she does it by sneaking in illegally and then writing angry blogposts about freedom of association when they kick her out.

            1. And she always goes as an Indian-American

          2. Why do you come here, John?

            1. Because i jealous of all the nerds.

  3. I love that this is an unprompted poll where can say any word you want, and five people independently came up with ‘asshole.’

  4. Make it an evil fuck who is incompetent, and I’ll agree. Good man–WTF? Since when do good men lie every time they open their mouth?

    1. It’s okay to lie for the greater good.

  5. “Well, he has a nice personality!”

    Famous last words

  6. Bush 33% to Obama 47%. And the 2008 financial collapse had not hit him yet.

    That is a sad commentary on Dubya.

    1. That’s nice, PB.

      Shows the power the legacy media still has, I suppose. With years of adulatory bootlicking, I’m sure even the most foul creature could get a positive poll result.


      2. It doesn’t even show the power of the legacy media.

        It shows the power of a cult of personality. There were an awful lot of people in Guyana with a positive opinion of Jim Jones, but I for one question whether their faith was warranted.

        1. Fair point, Irish.

          Obama benefits from a cult of personality disseminated and reinforced by legacy media.

      3. Or it reflects how well things are going. 2007-08 were the darkest most incompetent leadership in my life by far.

        Iraq was a total clusterfuck and the economy was crashing while Dubya finally got around to demoting Cheney for his awful advice.

        1. But its okay shreeky, Obama saved you. I mean what would a classical liberal gun loving Libertarian like you do if it wasn’t for Obama.

          It is mean to laugh at the mentally challenged, but you really are the best comedy act on the internet.

          1. Obama confiscated your guns? You warned us!

            1. He saved you.l He is a real Libertarian. That is why you love him so much.

              Keep them coming shreek. You are on top of your game today.

            2. Re: Peter Caca,

              Obama confiscated your guns?

              He is doing his best, Caca. Cut him some slack, for cryin’ out loud!

        2. Yeah, Weigel, it “reflects how well things are going.”

          That’ll sell…

          Fuck, call me when the shuttle lands, dude…

          1. Here’s how well things are going:


            Worst recovery since WWII.

            Fuckin’ awesome.

    2. I guess you weren’t consulted on the poll; I don’t see “great tasting cum” on there.

    3. Re: Peter Caca,

      Bush 33% to Obama 47%. And the 2008 financial collapse had not hit him yet.

      Plus Bush is white, so…

  7. Since I have never met the man, I can’t really say if he is a good guy or not. The incompetent part, however, is self evident.

    And lets not kid ourselves, most of the “but he is a good guy” is just guilty white people grading the first black President on the curve. If Obama were white, I imagine few people would think he was just a good guy giving his behavior the last six years.

    1. Without the identity shield, we’d be hearing more noise about impeachment.

      1. He would have never been President in th3e first place much less been re-elected. If he had, however, we would be talking about the Biden Administration right now. He has engaged in multiple things that would have gotten any other President from either party impeached and removed from office by now. Bengazi, using the IRS to go after his enemies, releasing Mitt Romney’s tax returns, Fast and Furious, the Bergdahl trade, just to name a few.

          1. Fake scandals. I mean you send thousands of guns to Mexican gangs, get an ambassador murdered and do nothing about it but blame it on an innocent film maker, us the IRS like personal political mafia and all of these racist Tea Baggers act like it is a big deal or something.

          2. Good rejoinder, Weigel. Way to take the high road and keep it classy…

          3. You spelled Gulp wrong.

        1. You mean Hillary. Biden, as an OMWG and gaff machine, is not electable.

          1. People make fun of Biden, but I honestly think he would be significantly better than Obama. I really do. He wouldn’t be good, but he would have to be better than this.

  8. Too bad for Bush he never had a mindless cult of personality that grew up around him. I’m convinced the only difference between Bush and Obama’s approval rating is the 14-15% of people who would adore Obama if he beat a baby to death on live television and then consumed its flesh while offering praise and exhortation to the Lord of the Flies.

    1. Well, candidly, if he actually beat a baby to death on TV and ate it….

      /no, not really

    2. Fundie Christians are the largest cult in the USA. They elected Bush.


        Bush only had a 55% approval rating among evangelical Christians in 2006.

        What do you think Obama’s approval rating is among African-Americans? The fact that African Americans have gotten far worse off under the Obama administration but still give him something like a 90% approval rating tells me that their support of him is not dependent upon his achievements…and, in fact, that their support of him is far less dependent on his achievements than evangelical support of Bush.

        1. The AA UE rate has barely moved. 95% of AAs are relatively unchanged since 2009.

          1. “The AA UE rate has barely moved. 95% of AAs are relatively unchanged since 2009.”


            Somebody should tell the president of the NAACP.

            “The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Mr. Jealous told MSNBC host David Gregory on “Meet the Press.” “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing a full point worse.”

            The black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent when Mr. Obama took office. While the unemployment rate in the U.S. as a whole is below 8 percent, the Labor Department reported the black jobless rate was up from 12.9 percent to 14 percent for December.”

            1. “A full point” are worse off. They generally have less education than other races. That might explain 12% UE.

              1. As long as you can couch your racism in paternalism, Weigel, I for one think you are SWELL!!

              2. Mask Slipping!!!
                Yeah what can you expect form them people? Even Obama’s brilliance can’t help them,

            2. Wait, his name really isn’t Mr. Jealous, is it? Even Ayn Rand wouldn’t go that far.

          2. Re: Peter Caca,

            The AA UE rate has barely moved. 95% of AAs are relatively unchanged since 2009.

            Ohh, so Obama can’t work miracles. Will wonders never cease.

            1. I know. You’re not worse off is now a big win for the President.

      2. CHRISTFAG!!!

        Wow, shreek is having a full on episode today. He must have gone all weekend without his meds.


    But I thought the Bamster was President now?

    Weird – I hear shrieking again.


      1. Bush is everywhere!! He just won’t get out of your head!! Of all the things Bush did, installing that radio transmitter in your head had to have been the worst.

        1. Tell Gillespie that. Oh, I forget. You don’t like him either.

          1. Nick didn’t put that transmitter in your head Shreek. Bush did that, remember?

      2. If he were still relevant today it’d be fine to mention his name. Would you also like us to mention William Harrison and Chester Arthur?

  10. I’m surprised “narcissist” didn’t make the list.

    1. Public schools

      1. I lol’d.

  11. OT- A friend who works at a big bank is complaining to me about his 15k bonus. I hate to admit I felt like slapping him and felt a bit of class envy, but am glad to admit I don’t think he should be forced to give it to the gov’t.

    1. Your friend needs to learn some class. That is just tacky.

      1. Yup it is an issue with him. He came from a humble backround and his parents are as sweet as can be. His issue is that he was a bullied nerd as a kid.

      2. What a dickhead.

        Talking about your bonus will get you one of two reactions:

        (1) Pfft. Is that all?


        (2) You greedy fuck.

    2. To be fair, a $15K bonus is probably a lot less than your friend was used to. Bonuses have been taking a beating. And your friend probably factors that bonus into his thinking on compensation.

      1. Oh, I understand. It’s just a know your audience thing. I know enough not complain about my $500 bonus to people who are broke.

  12. Again, why can’t you guys get behind honor killings?

  13. The man is a serial liar. That is the only frame you need to have, if you are wasting your time watching the FYTY tonight, which I will be skipping.

    1. PB and Tony are already using their respective towns’ supply of vaseline just in anticipation of listening to his Oneness whisper sweet sweet nothings to the barking seals in attendance.

  14. I guess we can be thankful that ‘socialist’ was considered a negative term instead of a positive one.

    1. Give it time, JEP, give it time…

    2. I’m fairly certain the people who responded, “liberal” didn’t mean it in a neutral way.

  15. Honestly, I don’t get the incompetent part. As a politician, Mr. Obama has been remarkably successful at getting what he wants. The problem is what he wants sucks. Moreover, he’s managed to evade responsibility for a level of skullduggery that would make Richard Nixon flinch.

    1. Fucking racist…

      1. ???

  16. Who on Earth could actually think Obama is a good man. Even if you agree with his political fantasies, you must be an idiot to think of him as a good man. While 35% of the people surveyed said this, if you add up the percentages for is incompetent, idiot/dumb/stupid, liar, failure, untrustworthy, a$$hole/jac*#a$$, unqualified you get 77%. That total is more accurate.

    Obama wants to make community college “free” and wants to tax 529 college savings accounts. Brilliant. Make something that is already cheap and free for even moderate income families, and penalize those who save money to pay for college.

    1. For most Obeyme voters, 4 letters is the upper limit of their word length.

  17. REVERSE racism, dude, REVERSE fucking racism…


  18. My favorite: “President”. You don’t say? I guess it’s the one not subject to any person’s opinion or biases and, therefore, probably the most accurate description…

    Anyways, the title to this article really bugs me. Americans didn’t say Obama is a “good man” who is “incompetent”. Completely separate groups of Americans think those things; Americans aren’t some singular monolith that all think the same (well, schizophrenically).

  19. imagine if the media covered Obama rather than covered FOR Obama. He never would have been elected. None of these Marxist Democrats would.

    I won’t be watching the SOTU. It will be full of strawmen, bullshit and fucking lies delivered by a hack undeserving and unqualified for his job, just like every other Obama speech.

  20. My greatest fear is that one day we will have a bad president who IS competent.

    1. We did.

      Richard Nixon.

      He did a lot of damage.

    2. FDR, bro.

  21. The soft bigotry of low expectations.

  22. Wow lets hit it up man.

  23. A psychopath is a person with a nasty personality who builds a more attractive personality in order to conceal his crimes and frauds. Obama has the characteristics of a clinical psychopath, and he has succeeded in fooling most people. Obama is not a good man, but he is a competent psychopath — less competent than Putin, more competent than Hillary, the other two psychopaths he faces.

  24. Can “Clusterf*ck-of-a-miserable-failure” count as one word???

  25. Why anybody would believe that the corrupt, lying sack of shit is a good man is beyond belief. Clearly, as usual a large segment of the population is not paying attention.

    Surprise, surprise.

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