As Faith In Government Falls, Obama Tries To Spin A Positive Storyline

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Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn as he returns via Marine One helicopter from a weekend visit at Camp David to the White House in Washington, July 7, 2013.

After months on the defensive over IRS targeting and NSA surveillance programs, President Barack Obama is trying to put the scandals behind him while attempting to restore trust in the federal government and his own management abilities.

He faces an uphill battle that has gotten steeper in recent years. According to a June CNN/ORC poll, a majority of Americans do not believe the president is “honest and trustworthy” — a record low for Obama. Additionally only 47 percent believed he could manage the government effectively, just off the lows of his tenure in office.

Exit polls from 2012 found that 43 percent of voters believe that the government should do more, down from 51 percent in 2008, when Obama was first elected. Tracking polls from Gallup show a continued downward trend, while polling from Pew shows trust in government at near historic lows.

This set the stage Monday for an event in West Wing where Obama convened a meeting of his Cabinet  “to lay out his vision for smarter government during his second term,” a White House official said.

“Taxpayers deserve the biggest bang for their buck, especially at a time when budgets are tight,” Obama said after the meeting from the State Dining Room in remarks that went ignored by all three cable news networks, and contained no new policy proposals.

Monday’s effort is not Obama’s first effort to modernize the government. In his 2011 State of the Union, Obama called for a sweeping reorganization of federal trade and commerce agencies and departments. “There are 12 different agencies that deal with exports,” Obama said. “There are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater. I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.” Before the 2012 election, Obama floated the idea of a “Secretary of Business.”

But nothing came of either effort, as Congress ignored his requests. Obama renewed that ask Monday, saying Congress “gives a lot of lip service” to the notion of more efficient government.

There have been some successes, which Obama boasted about on Monday. The administration has made vast swaths of government data public to foster private sector innovation, and the White House has taken steps to streamline applications to the Obamacare exchanges. Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, which hasn’t progressed in Congress, “includes 215 cuts, consolidations, and savings proposals, which are projected to save more than $25 billion in 2014,” according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama tasked OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burrell to lead the effort to modernize the government. He also announced the selection of 43 Presidential Innovation Fellows, including many from Silicon Valley and the tech community, who will work to bring agencies into the 21st century.

25 comments
drudown
drudown

If faith in government is, as we are incessantly conditioned by the "conservative" Media to believe, "eroding", surely no learned mind can credibly contend that the solution is starving the State of the necessary revenue to increase oversight to ensure policy is in accord with the Bill of Rights and improve efficiency. Nor can any student of History cite to an example where "deregulation" of major markets has materially benefited the People. 

If the People want change, they need to vote out the obstructionist GOP members of Congress so the "lesser of two evils" can enact meaningful changes to law with an eye toward improving the People's general welfare at home, i.e., instead of the GOP policy of diverting US taxpayer dollars to destroy and then "reconstruct" Arab states abroad.

roknsteve
roknsteve

All the people who commented below never said a word while Bush was destroying this country and they keep electing the do-nothing Gee-O-Pee.  They have only themselves to blame.    

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

“Taxpayers deserve the biggest bang for their buck, especially at a time when budgets are tight,” Obama said after the meeting from the State Dining Room in remarks that went ignored by all three cable news networks, and contained no new policy proposals.

The media is still busy apologizing for the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, for the dismal jobs report, and covering the Zimmerman Trial to come listen to your stand up comedic routine about a "smarter" government. Did you charge a cover and a 2 drink minimum? I'm sure you honed your mic skills while traveling on a luxurious African vacation with the family. It's too bad no one showed up to catch it. I'm sure you left everyone who was there in the room in stitches.. You so funny, Mr. President, smarter government, that's a good one..

roknsteve
roknsteve

And the Gee-O-Pee Party of No has a 10% approval.  And they're busy working on a 46 billion dollar jobs bill for the border.  How much is that an inch?

Sherm
Sherm

It's going to be a long three years.

Yoshi
Yoshi

To me, he's about the LAST guy to inspire my "trust in government".The last time I felt I could trust any of them was when Gerry Ford was in the White house........

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

I voted for Obama both times, but this administration seems like a rudderless boat, bouncing off the rocks on it's way over the falls. Too many "scandals", some obviously manufactured and over-hyped, but all poorly handled and allowed to run amok. You had the American people behind you all the way and just let it slip away, trying to please people that did not like you and said so to your face. He is, for all intents and purposes, a lame-duck President swinging wildly at everything but what matters. Namely, doing what you said you were going to do.   

RamonRoman
RamonRoman

Mr President: all this situation is of your making. The first 2 years of your presidency you had the majority of the congress, but you were scared to death to make use of the power given to you by the people. You wasted these 2 years bowing to the right wing of the opposition. The next 2 years were wasted because you lost the congress. Politically you continue the same Bush program, that you promised the people that you were going to change. You promised to give a solution to the Palestinian problem, but you worsened it, caving in to the Zionists, the majority by the way, of the congress. You kept the Guantamo prison and did nothing to alleviate the legal situation of those human beings.

 Now, in these 2 years, economically better, but p 

eagle11772
eagle11772

IMPEACH THIS BUM ! Throw Stumblebum Joe in there !  NEXT !

roknsteve
roknsteve

@terryclifton1 President Romney has all his meeting in secret and he's got drones all around your house.  Plus he cut spending by 10 trillion and now the whole country is out-of-work.  But he's installed car elevators in the White House.  Mission accomplished! 

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

Meaning what, the President is doing a bang-up job?  Nice try on the misdirection, though.

And I thought all government spending was stimulative.  Make up your mind.

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

The Secretary of Business sounds like something out of Idiocracy.  Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

Like Obama or not, I'm not sure what exactly people expected in terms of executive capabilities.  Never held a private sector job, no executive office experience, and within government never wrote, sponsored or proposed any legislation.  He's supposed to get to office and suddenly be the guy to guide the U.S. through one of its roughest patches in generations?  And now he wants to play small-government advocate because the polls are running against him?  Finally, why would he have waited for nine months after his reelection to start setting a course for his second term? 

RamonRoman
RamonRoman

Politically infamously worse, due to your meddling in the Bill of Rights, where Bush put an infamous breaking of the freedoms with their Patriot Act, you widened it by allowing the new law the murdering of American citizens without the protection of the Fourth Amendment. Now, to make matters much, much worse, you are arming terrorists, fanatics and human flesh eaters with the pretext to eliminate a head of state, going against International Laws.

Honestly, mr President, I thought that history was going to remember you as the best president of the USA, but now I see that history will remember you as a weak and undecisive president. 

  In my humble opinion, mr President, you were the first Black Republican elected as President riding on a DONKEY. 

TyPollard
TyPollard

@bryanfred1  

Everything is relative and Obama is relatively awesome when compared to the alternative.

That is the point.

...also, all spending IS stimulative BUT our side would prefer more productive spending on needed things.

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

@bryanfred1 

True. I keep waiting for this Administration to pick up the ball and run with it...somewhere. Anywhere! Instead we get limp-wristed swats at the gathering forces already massed against it from the first term. Standing in the waiting room in Africa while events spin further out of control both in and out of the US? Take off your coat and start swinging, Barack. The clock is ticking.

ahandout
ahandout

@TyPollard @bryanfred1 Spending like Solyndra?  on federal and state pension plans to bail out California, on "shovel ready jobs" that weren't so shovel ready, heehaw. Hey he's great at printing money and going on vacation though.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@TyPollard @cjh2nd @bryanfred1  

The problem I have with liberalism is that it cost to damn much, and when the money runs out, we are left with Communism. Venezuela is a perfect example of liberalism gone a muck. Is that your utopia?

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@TyPollard @bryanfred1  

There is no such thing as "productive spending" as it relates to the Federal Government. It's just spending tax dollars. The government doesn't produce anything tangible, just more blood suckers of "our" money. 

TyPollard
TyPollard

@cjh2nd @TyPollard @bryanfred1 

In your analogy the Republicans are Stalin but the difference between the evilness between Hitler and Stalin is less than the difference in unpopularity between Obama and Republicans. It is a matter of perspective which many in this country have lost.

Not everyone you don't like is Hitler...or even Stalin.

I don't approve of much of Obama work because he isn't liberal enough.


cjh2nd
cjh2nd

@TyPollard@bryanfred1

 "Everything is relative and Obama is relatively awesome when compared to the alternative."

so by your logic, Hitler was relatively awesome to Stalin because he killed less people.  and maybe by that measure he was. but you can't argue the guy was awesome. same here. and no, i'm not comparing barraqua man to hitler or stalin. just pointing out that being relatively awesome is like being the smartest kid at the retard table--it doesn't amount to much