Susan Page, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief, wasn’t exactly going out on a limb this past Sunday when she made the observation on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Barack Obama has gotten a vote of “no confidence” from the American people. As far back as June, a Fox News poll found that nearly half of all voters viewed the Obama administration as less competent than that of George W. Bush.
A month later, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post lamented that the man who had been “elected in 2008 on a stated promise that he would restore competence to government” was now “faltering badly on the competence question and, in so doing, badly imperiling not only his ability to enact any sort of second term agenda but also Democrats’ chances this fall.” Cillizza enumerated specific crises that were contributing to the view that Obama was in over his head: the VA scandal, the border crisis, the situation in Ukraine, and concerns over the NSA spying program.
Conspicuous in their absence from this list were Ebola and ISIS, the most recent and most immediate crises, which have only served to further eroded confidence in the White House.
Nevertheless, the critique by Page, who Keith Koffler describes as the current “dean of the Washington press corps,” had to come as a stinging rebuke. In the video clip from the show that follows, Page says:
And I think both these stories, Ebola and the threat from ISIS, are feeding into a sense that a lot of Americans have that the world is not only a dangerous place but that the government is not competent….
Even the Secret Service controversy, I think, contributes to that sense. I think that’s a very dangerous thing for President Obama, the sense that his administration is not competent to protect the American people. That is the most fundamental job of an American president.
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