This Christmas, President Obama's approval ratings are dropping faster than the temperatures outside. According to a recent poll from Military Times the Commander in Chief's popularity is at an all time low with a whopping 15 % approval rating amongst the men and women in uniform, much lower than last year's 28%.

There are several theories for the reason of plummeting support for Obama amongst the troops, and many of them are rooted in his push for change. From Obama's lifting of "don't ask, don't tell" to changing the rules of women in combat situations, and new anti-sexual assault training he requires for service, he has changed the culture of the military. Another reason for his appalling approval ratings is that the troops feel a lack of leadership coming from the Oval Office, a criticism that has also been echoed amongst civilians.

The troops have been fighting in the Middle East for over a decade. Then Obama made it his mission to pull the troops from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, a plan he announced to the world. The once bright outlook of democracy existing in the Middle East quickly faded with the rise of ISIS's control of the desert. The rise of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan has made troops question their mission and wonder if their comrades died in vain. The lack of faith in a plan from the White House has hurt morale amongst troops and killed their support of their leadership. Army Lt. General Daniel Bolger said to Military Times, "The junior folks have a right to question their leaders and say, 'Hey, you told me to do this U.S.-led counterinsurgency, and it didn't work. What the heck?' They want to know why they were told to do all the dumb stuff they were told do."

Obama has also made the military a target of his budget cuts, resulting in pay and benefit decreases for the troops. There will be a housing cut for any troops living off base and for the second year in a row the troops will only be getting a 1% raise. These two hits are bound to make anyone calling the shots unpopular. Change often takes time to get used to, but it seems Obama doesn't allow time for anyone to adapt before he pushes more changes for the military. If there's one thing that Obama has illustrated in the past, it's that he doesn't care about his poll ratings. With two more years in office the American military and civilians alike will watch with great interest whether President Obama can work with the new Congress to mend his reputation or if he will continue his current course.



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