Opinion
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Barack Obama Is The GOP’S MVP

Photo of W. James Antle III
W. James Antle III
Editor, The Daily Caller News Foundation

Are you sitting down? Good, because I have a confession to make: I’m starting to think Barack Obama isn’t a very good president.

Recent polling suggests an uptick in the percentage of Americans who similarly question the president’s managerial competence.  The Washington Post sums it up this way: “Americans are starting to doubt President Obama is a good boss.”

Just this week the Obama administration approved an Environmental Protection Agency rule that will raise electricity prices and likely eliminate jobs. The White House released five Taliban commanders in exchange for a prisoner of war. The Taliban five were reportedly deemed “a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated.” Now there are serious questions about the released American too.

It would be easier to give the administration the benefit of the doubt on these questions if these weren’t the same people who presided over Obamacare — said to be a victory because people actually signed up for a product that was mandated by law and subsidized by the taxpayers — and the VA scandal.

But I’m not a negative guy, so let’s look for the silver lining here. With all due respect to Reince Preibus, is there anyone in the country doing more to elect Republicans than Barack Obama?

Before Obama, the GOP was a party that could not find its posterior with both hands. After the 2008 presidential election, only 34 percent of the American people had a favorable view of the Republican Party, Gallup found, while 61 percent viewed the party of Lincoln and Reagan unfavorably.

The GOP’s numbers haven’t really gotten any better. So why are Republicans heavy favorites to retain the House majority while making gains — and perhaps even taking control — in the Senate? Thank Obama.

Three in ten voters say they will cast their ballots in November to oppose Obama. That’s the same percentage as before the 2010 elections, when Republicans won the House and made gains elsewhere. It’s also about the same as the share of voters who wanted to send George W. Bush a message before the Democrats captured Congress in 2006.

One reason for this is the health care law that bears the president’s name. Obamacare has given some Americans health insurance, though by most accounts the majority of its enrollees weren’t previously uninsured. It has made others lose their preferred health insurance, deal with narrower networks of doctors and pay higher premiums.

“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” a health insurance CEO said of life under Obamacare. If you like your insurance company bailout, you can keep your insurance company bailout.

Republicans are about three times as likely to view Obamacare as one of the main issues of the midterm elections than Democrats. Only about half of Obamacare supporters believe the law will benefit their families.

Obamacare isn’t the only Republican get-out-the-vote tool the president has invented. Obama’s EPA also has Democrats on the defensive.

Alison Lundergan Grimes is the Democrat taking on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, one of the few vulnerable Republican incumbents and a man once dubbed the least popular senator (his supporters and aides disputed the number on which this claim was based).

Now she must distance herself from carbon emissions rules that endanger jobs in her state, vowing to “fiercely oppose the president’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my No. 1 priority.”

Grimes didn’t cancel a fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over it, but this obviously puts her off-message, at least.

Natalie Tennant, the Democratic candidate for Senate in West Virginia, has also pledged, “I will stand up to President Obama, [EPA head] Gina McCarthy and anyone else who tries to undermine our coal jobs.”

Even popular Democratic incumbents like Mark Warner of Virginia have refrained from jumping to the administration’s defense. Warner instead expressed relief they “wisely decided to accept our recommendation to double the comment period from 60 to 120 days.”

Double the amount of time until the midterms and maybe the Democrats have a winner.

Let’s not get too cocky, however. Republicans have blown their fair share of elections before, including two previous opportunities to win the Senate. They’ve lost twice to Obama himself.

Conservative groups are spending $3 attacking Republicans for every $1 they spend going after Democrats. National party organs have been equally eager to savage tea party candidates.

Who’s looking out for Joe Republican, trying to get him elected in this tough climate? Only one person: Barack Obama.

Forget the Debbie Downers who question whether Obama’s presidency is too high a price to pay to see a few more RINOs stampede the Capitol come January. Let’s give credit where it’s due and recognize the president as the GOP’s MVP.

Where would Republicans be without him?

W. James Antle III is the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation and author of the book Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? Follow him on Twitter.