Tags: Barack Obama | China | popularity | Obama | deficit

Obama's Plunging Popularity May Dominate China Visit

By    |   Saturday, 08 November 2014 04:23 PM

President Barack Obama's declining political popularity and Democratic Party midterm losses may overshadow the United States' recovering economy for Chinese leaders when he travels to Beijing on Monday, according to analysts.

"Politics trumps economics at the end of the day," Nicholas Lardy, a Peterson Institute for International Economics expert on the Chinese economy, told The New York Times.

When Obama first visited China in 2009, he was still flying high after having just been elected as the nation's first African-American president. The United States' economy was in serious trouble though, and Chinese officials lectured the visiting American delegation about the need for the U.S. to put its finances in order.

Five years later, the United States' deficit has been cut in half, while the Chinese economy is on the decline, but Obama is facing far more problems. His job performance ratings are at an all-time low as criticism mounts about his actions on the Ebola outbreak, the threat of the Islamic State in the Middle East and immigration.

The Republican Party's Senate takeover, putting control of both Congressional chambers into the GOP's hands, is also causing the Chinese some doubts that Obama will have enough political influence to push his agenda on Asia.

The Chinese media has reported on Obama's political troubles.

"Obama always utters 'Yes, we can,' which led to the high expectations people had for him," said The Global Times, an English-language website that is affiliated with People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, in an editorial after the midterm election. "But he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters. U.S. society has grown tired of his banality."

Further, the scathing editorial said, "Obama's best performance is empty rhetoric, while he achieved nothing on issues such as lowering the income gap. The American people have not benefited from the economic recovery."

The best way for Obama to regain his standing is to move fast on projects like a proposed trade deal that could reinforce the United States' role in the region, or to work together with China on an issue such as climate change, analysts believe.

"It's a matter of, in part, communicating through your body language, through your ambitions, and through what you commit to," Kenneth Lieberthal, who was a China adviser in the Clinton administration and is now at the Brookings Institution, told The Times. "That's an important part of what he'll do, but I certainly think that the election does not help him in that."

The Republican-controlled Congress could help Obama's standing in China, however, by passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact that involves 12 countries.

The White House does have some good news before Obama's trip, with Japan and China agreeing to set aside their dispute over control of islands in the East China Sea.

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President Barack Obama's declining political popularity and Democratic Party midterm losses may overshadow the United States' recovering economy for Chinese leaders when he travels to Beijing on Monday, according to analysts. Politics trumps economics at the end of the...
China, popularity, Obama, deficit
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2014-23-08
Saturday, 08 November 2014 04:23 PM
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