5 Big Ideas That Can Save Obama’s Presidency
The disappointment of Barack Obama’s supporters is palpable. He has gone from being a vessel for their greatest hopes into being a confirmation of their deepest fears about the American political system.
The excitement he generated was associated not with his gift for oratory or any platform plank but with the promise of longed-for fundamental change. What’s more, the change seemed guaranteed. Anyone could see he would not be like other presidents. Merely electing him would undo age-old injustices.
So his election was a transcendent moment. And then we waited to see when the changes would come. But sadly, it thus far seems Obama’s singular act of creativity was in winning election. He was what was new. He was the change. Since then, he has gone from defying Washington convention to embodying it. His rhetoric about a new way of doing business, higher standards, a creative vision for the future has proved to be just that: words. Business has been as usual. Values have been murky. Cash and special interests have remained king. And as for that bright shining future, we’re still waiting.
Not only are we doing things the same old way, but the same old way doesn’t seem to be working for the country as well as it once did.
In the past week I have had the chance to speak with three dyed-in-the-wool Democratic donors. One said to me, “The last set of jobless numbers was a game-changer.” Another, a former senior government official, spent half an hour discussing with me why Republican candidate Mitt Romney might do a better job. His thesis? That Obama is an ineffective manager and a weak leader, so while Romney is a deeply flawed candidate, he might do better. Certainly, this former official believed, he would be a better manager.