There are few pieces which get at the essence of Barack Obama’s problems as president than does Michael Barone’s column Wednesday,
Obama has aura but doesn’t know how to legislate. In the process of evaluating Obama’s first six months in office, this Hephaestus (so dubbed because of his attention to detail) distills and refines some of the standard criticisms we conservative bloggers raised about the Democrat during the 2008 presidential campaign:
We knew that day that Obama was good at aura, at generating enthusiasm for the prospect of hope and change. His inspiring speeches — the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines, the race speech in Philadelphia, the countless rallies in primary and caucus and target states — helped him capture the Democratic nomination and then win the presidency by the biggest percentage margin in 20 years.
But it turns out that Obama is not so good at argument. Inspiration is one thing, persuasion another. He created the impression on the campaign trail that he was familiar with major issues and readily ticked off his positions on them. But he has not proved so good at legislating.
We constantly faulted Obama for his lack of experience and absence of accomplishment. Barone spells it out, providing facts from the president’s biography to show why the incumbent is not adept at either legislating or governing.
Yeah, Obama gives a good speech (from time to time) and can captivate an audience, but he can’t author legislation. (Sounds like something a wise woman said at the GOP Convention last summer.)
Despite the Democrat’s campaign self-portrayal as a postpartisan kind of guy, he’s staffed his White House with some pretty partisan fellows, far more partisan than all but a handful of Bush aides: “Most of Obama’s top White House staffers,” Barone observes, “are politics operatives, not policy wonks.” This man is just a standard issue politician with a better presentation than most.
Instead of relying on my synposis/interpretation of Barone’s column, as with anything by this Olympian of punditry, just read the whole thing.