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Four-dollars-a-gallon gas.

Nearly 10 percent unemployment.

Our brave men and women still fighting and dying on the faraway sands of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guantanamo Bay still open; universal health care still undelivered; an economy in shambles.

The question isn't why President Barack Obama's 47 percent approval rating is the lowest of any chief executive since Gallup began such polling 71 years ago, though plenty of people will tell you it's because America is a deeply bigoted country, while pointing out the fact Obama is a black man.

No, the real question is why the president's approval rating is as high as it is.

Asked why Obama was unable -- with two years of Democratic control in the Senate and the House of Representatives -- to accomplish a single one of the objectives he campaigned on, his supporters quickly begin talking about Sarah Palin, as though the Alaskan reality show star has anything to do with anything.

Voters, meanwhile, stripped away his Democratic control of the House and cut drastically into the Senate majority in the November elections. If you think Obama was unable to get anything done in his first two years, the next two should be interesting.

At least now he really can blame the Republicans.

Along with his predecessor, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter, Obama has been the worst president America has had in the post-World War II era. Whether you liked their politics or not, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and even Richard Nixon all got things done.

Today, the inertia coming from the White House is palpable.

Obama spoke recently of the "Sputnik moment" that led John F. Kennedy to vow that America would put a man on the moon in less than 10 years, a promise many thought he was crazy for making and a promise that America fulfilled. For Obama, that "Sputnik moment" involves a sort of taxpayer-funded Ponzi scheme in which even more of the nation's economy will be turned over to the government in the manner of General Motors and private enterprise will become even more marginalized.

While Obama is vulnerable to becoming the first one-term president in more than 20 years, the Republicans are perfectly capable of screwing it up and nominating some non-entity like Mitt Romney as their candidate.

And the endless war and endless recession Obama presides over will continue.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com March 15, 2011