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Shaking things up

While Barack Obama is busy shaking hands with Cuban dictators and taking jabs and Republicans while attending Nelson Mandela's memorial in South Africa, perhaps he should be shaking hands here in America, trying to regain the confidence of his own citizens.

Another poll has been published – this one from McClathy-Marist – which finds Obama achieving the worst ratings of his presidency.

“Obama’s disapproval rating climbed to 53 percent – the worst in 29 polls since he took office in January 2009 – while 43 percent approved of his job performance …

Obama’s personal ratings were also down. By 52 percent to 46 percent, people had an unfavorable impression of him, the first time since November 2011 the negative number was higher. The unfavorable number was also the worst he’s endured.”

Although to be fair, Congress fares even worse in this poll. As a whole, Americans are frustrated with Washington. The difference is that Obama used to remain insulated from this frustration, but that is no longer the case. Why? The disastrous rollout of ObamaCare has demonstrated that Obama is nothing more than another big-government bureaucrat like the rest of them.

How bad have things gotten for Obama? Today we learn that he is bringing back John Podesta, who led Obama's transition team, to help stop an Obama presidency in nosedive. Podesta played a similar role for Bill Clinton when his administration was rocked with scandal.

Remember that just last week, on December 2, the Hill reported the following: “Former administration officials and Democratic operatives say President Obama is ill-served by his current White House staff and must reboot his second term team following the disastrous ObamaCare rollout.” On the same day as the Hill report, The Wall Street Journal similarly reported on the need for “new blood” within the administration. Also on that same day, December 2, Ron Fournier wrote a piece in the National Journal: “Fire Your Team, Mr. President.” He says …

“A series of self-inflicted wounds during his fifth year in office, capped by the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act, have Americans questioning the president's competence and credibility. History suggests that second-term presidents rarely recover after their approval ratings fall as much as Obama's have this year.

History also suggests that there are two types of White House shake-ups. The first is mostly cosmetic and is aimed at sending a signal that the president is serious. He fires somebody, anybody, as a sacrificial lamb. The second is deep cleansing--that rare occasion when a president rebuilds his team to change himself.

The latter is what Obama must do.”

Notice a trend here? All on the same day, December 2, we get multiple articles and columns written about the President's need to clean house. A casual observational coincidence? Possibly. Podesta doesn't necessarily represent an early “spring cleaning” of Obama's inner circle, but it certainly represents a shift. Obama knows that he can't keep going on the same path he has been treading since January.

When Obama looks back on the legacy of his presidency, I'm sure he'll wish he had a mulligan for 2013.