A new poll says that a slight majority of Americans do not believe Barack Obama deserves a second term as President. What this tells us:

  • Obama’s fairy tale story of his rise to the top to save the world from global warming, wars, poverty, and general conflict has ended.
  • Whatever the true effects of the stimulus and other government-speared recovery efforts are, people are not seeing results and are not satisfied.
  • Republicans have a much better opportunity to seize the Presidency than anyone would have thought two years ago. [If Sarah Palin and populist tea-partiers are their answer, I might rather have Obama.]

What this does not mean:

  • Obama is conclusively a failure. We should judge Presidents by their approval ratings in the middle of their time in office and not wait to have hindsight to judge their performance.
  • Obama will lose the next election.
  • Obama has done nothing right.
  • Americans are beginning to dislike Obama for reasons they understand and can justify.
  • Nothing on the Democratic agenda – fighting global warming, healthcare reform, repealing the Patriot Act, etc – will get done now because of relatively low approval ratings.

A lot of GOP’ers are making ambitious claims that some of those last few points are true. A lot of people on the left are denying the possibility that the other list of bullet points can be true. In reality, I’d say that Obama has merely been brought back down to Earth. He won’t be able to rely on his sexy star-power or his massive popularity in Europe to pass legislation. He might, dare I say it, have to actually negotiate, compromise, and be a – gasp – politician in order to get things done.

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