Tags: 2014 Midterm Elections | Barack Obama | Obama | 2014 | Congress | executive action

Obama's 'Year of Action' Undermined by Scandals

Image: Obama's 'Year of Action' Undermined by Scandals

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:28 AM

By Elliot Jager

President Barack Obama's efforts to mobilize his base with a "year of action" by using his executive powers to circumvent a recalcitrant Congress has failed to deliver the momentum he had hoped for, The Washington Times reported.

Five months after he pledged his "year of action," continuing problems with Obamacare, scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and White House missteps, including inadvertently releasing the name of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan, have undermined the president's efforts.

"Year of action?" Republican operative John Feehery told the Times. "How about 'Year of Blah'?"

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

The president can point to some limited successes. He unilaterally increased the minimum wage for contractors doing work for the federal government. Inspired by the president, Maryland, Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Hawaii have all raised their minimum wage, as have several big companies.

Obama also unilaterally imposed environmental limitations on land use by declaring a national monument in New Mexico. He is also raising the prospect of executive action to speed up permitting for road and bridge projects.

These initiatives have still not stirred his liberal base, according to the Times. The White House has reason to be concerned about low turnout among core Democratic voters — the young, minorities, and single women in the November 2014 elections. Obama's pounding away on populist issues such as the minimum wage is aimed to motivate these groups, the Times reported.

There is moreover a notable "enthusiasm gap" between Democratic and Republican voters, which could also affect turnout.

Democrats say they are 55 percent less enthusiastic about voting than in previous elections, according to a recent Gallup survey. Democrats are suffering from an 8-point "enthusiasm deficit" compared to Republicans. In addition, a recent Pew Research survey found  that the president "inspires far less enthusiasm among Democratic voters than he did four years ago."

Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Ana Navarro said the administration remains bogged down. "It's a problem of being asleep at the wheel. It's a problem of lack of leadership and governance," she said, according to the Times.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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