Two words: not good.
About an hour from now President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address. And I know some of you are applauding the word "final".
A new CBS News poll tells the story. Just 27 percent of Americans believe the U.S.A. is heading in the right direction. A whopping 65 percent say the country is on the wrong track and that includes 47 percent of Democrats.
This time last year 38 percent of Americans felt the country was heading for a good place. 56 percent dissented.
So why the negative change in 12 months? First of all the ISIS situation remains very intense and millions of refugees streaming into Europe is a disgrace. None of that should have happened. President Obama still has no solution to the jihadist problem.
Secondly American workers are not making enough money to prosper. All these jobs numbers are bogus. It's not the jobs that are out there. It's how much they pay. And working people know employers have the upper hand. Workers have little bargaining power in this soft economy.
CBS also asked about President Obama's job approval rating. 46 percent approve, 47 percent disprove. This time last year 46 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove -- obviously little change. The reason President Obama is not doing worse in that category is that many Americans like him personally. They feel he is trying and some of his policies, as you know, are pleasing to the left. On the right, many despise the President.
But, in the middle, folks seem to know the country is not in a good place, 65 percent of them do. But they are not, for some reason, holding it against President Obama per se.
Finally, the poll asked about past presidents at this point in their terms where they were polled. George W. Bush had an approval rating of 29 percent,62 percent disapproved. Bill Clinton 60 percent approval, 31 percent disapprove. Ronald Reagan 50 percent approval, 35 percent disapprove.
For historical purposes it is worth noting Bush the younger had Iraq and a faltering economy. Ronald Reagan had fallout from Iran contra in his last year.
Tonight, President Obama will put forth an optimistic vision -- he has to. He can't tell the country the truth because that would destroy his legacy. And the truth is that no matter what America faces we can overcome it. I agree with the President on that. But we have to start problem-solving, stop with all this ideology.
And that's “The Memo”.