- The Washington Times
Thursday, March 9, 2017

In recent weeks talk of a “shadow presidency” has been percolating in the news media, exploring the possibility that a potential “soft coup” against the Trump administration is underway. It is disquieting stuff, considering that President Trump has been in office for a mere seven weeks as of Friday. American voters, however, do not appear happy with the idea that the new administration could be undermined so quickly.

“Former President Obama is reportedly planning a more visible stand against President Trump and the GOP to protect his legacy, but most voters think that’s a bad idea,” states a new Rasmussen Reports survey, which finds that 58 percent of the likely U.S. voters say Mr. Obama should not actively oppose his successor and the Republican Party, while 30 percent said Mr. Obama should go ahead and take a public role in the Democratic opposition. The rest are undecided.


“Even Democrats are lukewarm to the idea of Obama’s re-emergence,” the poll said, noting that a minority of Democratic votes — 45 percent — say he should take a more active role in the opposition.

“Among voters who strongly disapprove of the job Trump is doing, just 48 percent believe Obama should take a more public role. Among those who strongly approve of the new president’s job performance, 81 percent say Obama should not become a more public opposing voice,” the survey said.

AMERICAN WELL-BEING WARMS UP

Press and critics continue to squawk against President Trump and his administration. But some numbers from another realm tell a happier story. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has reached “the highest point in a decade following upbeat assessments about the economy and buying climate,” the news organization reports.

“The consumer comfort index rose to 50.6 in the period ended March 5, the highest since March 2007, when it was 49.8. Gauge of economy advanced to 48.2, the highest since August 2001. Buying-climate measure rose to 44.5, the strongest reading since April 2002. Index of personal finances was little changed at 58.9 versus 59,” Bloomberg says.

DEMOCRATIC MOMENT OF RECKONING

When in doubt, stage a listening tour. It is a component of the Hillary Clinton-approved playbook, and one Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez is about to deploy. Along with deputy chair Rep. Keith Ellison, he plans to launch a “Democratic Turnaround Tour” from Detroit in two weeks. They will move on to Flint — then it’s off to New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and other states with voter value. And no wonder: 2018 is only nine months off.

“We didn’t succeed in 2016 because in too many communities we failed to show up, failed to engage and failed to turn out,” says Mr. Ellison.

“The Democratic turnaround starts right now, and it starts with our focus on getting back to basics and building from the ground up,” notes Mr. Perez. “We’ve already seen what’s possible when progressives get organized and show up in places like Delaware and Connecticut. But we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas in every single Zip code.”

The two will place their foot on the gas on March 24. Whether a Scooby Bus or something similar is involved remains to be determined.

‘THE MORE THEY LIKE HER’

“The more Americans learn about first lady Melania Trump, the more they like her,” reports a new CNN poll, which finds that 52 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Mrs. Trump — an increase from 36 percent before President Trump’s inauguration.

The inevitable partisan divide: 86 percent of Republicans view the first lady favorably, compared to 22 percent of Democrats. Mrs. Trump garnered some of her highest ratings among conservatives (82 percent), people over 65 (62 percent), college grads (62 percent) and those who live in urban areas (61 percent).

“Another interesting note on Melania Trump’s new poll numbers: men have a more favorable view of her than women. Fifty-eight percent of men view her positively, and 46 percent of women. Michelle Obama’s numbers in that category were dramatically flip-flopped with 78 percent women and 68 percent men. Laura Bush was split fairly evenly between the two, 56 percent women, 55 percent men,” CNN noted in its analysis.

FOXIFIED

Good tidings just keep arriving for the Fox News Channel. FNC topped all basic cable networks for the seventh consecutive week, according to Nielsen Media Research. The network’s coverage of President Trump’s address to Congress drew 10.1 million viewers, outpacing all cable and broadcast competition, including CBS, NBC and ABC. In addition, Fox News programs made up 16 of the top 30 telecasts. And a viewing note: Though the race between the two is close, MSNBC has bested CNN for the last six weeks, 1.6 million prime-time viewers to 1.4 million, respectively.

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POLL DU JOUR

73 percent of Americans talk about politics with family and friends.

57 percent of Americans say the time they spend thinking about politics is “about right”; 25 percent say they spend “too much time”; 14 percent say they spend an “overwhelming” amount of time.

38 percent have changed their sources of political news following political discussions.

36 percent have changed the way they use social media due to political discussions.

27 percent have limited interactions with certain friends and family members due to political discussions.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,025 U.S. adults conducted March 1-4.

• Hoots and hollers to jharper@washingtontimes.com; follow her on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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