Americans are afraid. The White House is afraid. Democrats are afraid.
President Obama’s “Year of Action” has turned into a Year of Fear. The country seems mired in dread. And that could have mortal consequences for midterm Democrats.
New polls out this week betray a rattled public, one that is jittery about war, security, and the economy—and one that is increasingly looking to the GOP, not the party in power. Even as the White House has sought to reassure Americans that the campaign in Iraq will be limited, that the president isn’t going to act alone on immigration in the near future, and that the economy is doing better, the damage appears to be done.
Obama and his aides have been caught between messages: that the country wasn’t going to war, until it was (sort of). That the president couldn’t act on immigration, until he could, until he wouldn’t (yet). That the economy had turned the corner, but not quite. (Wait.)
All of it has brought Obama’s credibility into question and disrupted the narrative that the administration wanted 2014 to advance—the one where employment rose, the war in Afghanistan ended, and the president walked tall in the face of gridlock.