Barack Obama who appeared so unflappable on the campaign trail and in the early days of his presidency is starting to feel the heat from a still faltering economy and it has taken a toll on his persona.
From the Politico
Finally, we’re starting to see him sweat.
President Barack Obama made his personal icy cool the trademark of his campaign, the tenor of his White House and the hallmark of an early run of successes at home and abroad. But as the glamour wears off and a long, frustrating summer wears on, he is being forced to improvise — stooping to respond to political foes and adjusting his tactics and demeanor for the trench warfare of a legislative agenda.
The root of the change is one that faces every president: Economic and international realities that resist political charm. Iran and North Korea have shown no interest in the president’s outstretched hand. The economy has delivered a double-whammy, with rising unemployment stirring voters’ concerns while sluggish growth deprives the government of tax revenues Obama would like to spend on new programs.
Health care reform, which once appeared flush with momentum from earlier congressional victories, is now on a slog through no less than five committees, which include Democrats who either aren’t sold on Obama’s expansive vision or can’t figure out how to convince voters to pay for it.
“This is when it gets harder,” the president told supporters June 30.
And so it has.
In turn, Obama has adjusted, deviating from the playbook on every front.
The cool president has turned hot on the stump, stripping to shirtsleeves to lambaste doubters in New Jersey Thursday. He departed from his prepared remarks last week to accept a Republican challenge to take personal ownership of the economy: “That’s fine. Give it to me,” he said.
Even Obama’s scripted speeches are deliberately more forceful, aggressive and direct in taking on critics, aides say. Friday remarks at the White House had a trash-talk edge – count me out and you’ll be sorry.
Obama’s political operation has dispensed with its post-inauguration cocktails for Republicans – or more often, ignoring them outright — in favor of the old politics of engage, attack and cajole. Obama’s even engaging in a little Democrat-on-Democrat politics, as his ex-campaign arm is beaming TV ads into the home states of moderate fence-sitters on health care.
It’s about time that Obama takes responsibility for the economy after six months in office rather than continuing to blame the Bush administration. After the first Bush stimulus failed Obama followed that up with a bigger and better one costing $787 billion. The result? We are still in a recession and people are still losing their jobs. And the taxpayers now own GM to boot. So the White House rather than try to really fix the economy as Obama promised is pushing an expensive Cap and Trade bill as well as an even more expensive national insurance plan.
Politically for Obama it is far better for him to face a recession at the beginning of his term. Voters memories tend to be short and if he can get the economy back on track which won’t be easy as long as he keeps spending gobs of our money and runs up record deficits he stands the current misery everything is suffering through won’t hurt his reelection chances three years from now.