Liberals Are Starting To Get It: The More The Public Sees Obama The Less They Like Him
I’ve been saying for a while now that the more the American public sees Obama these days the less they like him. It seems as though some liberals are starting to agree. Howard Fineman gives Obama some advice in a Newsweek article: Giving speeches isn’t going to get you anywhere.
If ubiquity were the measure of a presidency, Barack Obama would already be grinning at us from Mount Rushmore. But of course it is not. Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He’s a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked “done.” This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he’s not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.
Fineman notes that Obama’s problem isn’t too much exposure (I disagree) but rather that his words don’t have a lot of substance to them.
The president’s problem isn’t that he is too visible; it’s the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words “I” and “my.” (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.
Pretty words without a lot of substance? A big ego? A messiah complex? Seems to me that there were people who were saying this about Obama before he was elected.
Maybe if people like Fineman had been paying attention to this stuff then instead of making excuses for Obama (as Fineman himself still is even as he points out Obama’s problems) Americans would have made a better choice for President.
Not that McCain was all that better an option, really.