The Economist is the latest of the smart guys to notice that President Obama is proving strangely unlike the guy they told us he was back in late October:
His performance has been weaker than those who endorsed his candidacy, including this newspaper, had hoped. Many of his strongest supporters—liberal columnists, prominent donors, Democratic Party stalwarts—have started to question him. As for those not so beholden, polls show that independent voters again prefer Republicans to Democrats, a startling reversal of fortune in just a few weeks. Mr Obama’s once-celestial approval ratings are about where George Bush’s were at this stage in his awful presidency. Despite his resounding electoral victory, his solid majorities in both chambers of Congress and the obvious goodwill of the bulk of the electorate, Mr Obama has seemed curiously feeble.
The geniuses then go on to explain why this is: first, he hasn't "grappled" with the economy as singlemindedly as he should; second, he hasn't managed his relations with Congress very well. Jennifer Rubin gently explains what the smart guys have missed:
The Economist had Obama pegged wrong. Yes, there is an element of managerial incompetence, but the real issue is that the Right was correct about Obama: he’s an ultra-liberal at least on domestic policy, not a pragmatic centrist either on policy or in style. His mode of governance — denigrate the opposition, engage in ad hominem attacks, refuse to compromise on substantive policy, disguise radical policy intentions with a haze of meaningless rhetoric — bespeaks someone supremely confident in his ideological views...
This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist "grappling" with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they're planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it's going to be a long four years.
And how about this?
In an accomplished press conference this week, Mr Obama reminded the world what an impressive politician he can be. He has a capacity to inspire that is unmatched abroad or at home.
Oh, dear. That's so January 20th it makes these toffee-nosed Brits sound like straw-sucking hayseeds. Here's Gail Collins in The New York Times:
National Consensus Update...
Barack Obama — Kinda boring. Did you see the news conference? Same thing over and over again. Not that we mind. In these troubled times, we like stability. Thank God we didn’t elect somebody who was all charisma and exciting speeches...