In the past few weeks, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have begun to question their assumption that Barack Obama, this most “remarkable man” would end the acrimonious politics which defined the last years of the previous century and the first years of the current one. Excavating and building, in his words, “upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans“, he would craft a “new kind of politics.”
Maybe some are finally beginning to realize that the divine image they had of the Chicago Democrat (like the demonic one they had of his predecessor) was based not on his actual accomplishments, but their own eager imagination. If this guy were such an agent of change, why hadn’t he done anything to reform the notorious political machine in his Illinois hometown?
In his second book, Barack Obama acknowledged that he served “as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” And project they did. So, bewitched were they by his rhetoric, that they gave short shrift to his record as Drew Westen acknowledged in Sunday’s New York Times:
Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography . . . .
If he does indeed have those qualities about which lefties once waxed eloquent, he has the chance now to show them. Instead of engaging in pointed partisan attacks on his opponents and fixing his sights on next year’s presidential contest, he should focus on the task at hand, working to effect real reform and craft a budget compromise that can pass a Republican House and Democratic Senate.
His predecessor’s political “architect” suggests the president
. . . attend far fewer fundraisers until Congress goes out in December. He must rescue his presidency by spending more time on his job, not his politics. These steps, however, are probably beyond the president. This West Wing is almost completely focused on the president’s re-election, not on policy.
That focus is the crux of his problem.