Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter?

Gloria Berger from CNN serves up a good analysis of the political situation for Barack Obama. Excerpt:

It's strange, really, that the man who touched so many during the campaign has failed to connect in the same way during his presidency.
The president, for all of his success in checking off his to-do list, is now seen as just more of the same...

It's not that we don't see Obama; we see him more than just about any other president. So why is it that we still can't figure out who he is? Because a Zelig-like devotion to announcing one more agenda item or one more stimulus project or give one more speech just isn't enough.

Visibility doesn't guarantee connection. Connection guarantees connection.

That's where Bill Clinton comes in. There's no one who was better at empathy. And so, as Obama and the Democrats trudge toward an election bound to make them unhappy, the question is this: If Obama loses seats (or even control of the House), who will he be? Will he be Bill Clinton (a la 1994, after losing the House to Newt Gingrich and the GOP), adjusting to his new circumstance, working to pass welfare reform and a budget agreement? Or will be Jimmy Carter, who went from bad to worse, sulking with not much to show for it?

The other thing I liked in the article is her noticing how President Obama wouldn't mention in his victory speech the surge strategy which he opposed while a Senator and which worked in Iraq and which he used himself is employing in Afghanistan. I guess we'll assume that he really didn't think it would work back in 2007 and go with the "on the job training theory."

1 comment:

  1. He'll be Jimmy Carter. Bill would never have shoved bills through so hard, that most of the public did not want. He was no capitalist, but he did care about poll numbers.