Posted on June 4, 2010 by

On the day of that awful rampage last November when Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas, President Obama came out to the Rose Garden.

It was the president’s first remarks on the tragedy and he recited from his notes without emotion or outrage, offering what he called “an update” on the matter.


I criticized Obama in my blog for behaving like a white house staffer sent out to read a prepared statement.  But I wasn’t just offended by the guy’s inability to connect with the public (including me).  I was beginning to conclude that we had elected a president with a serious political deficiency.

Now the president’s incapacity to react – in real time – to events around him has reached critical mass with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

And I don’t think this is just a matter of theatrics or posturing.

There’s the real possibility that the public perception of the administration’s handling of the disaster could worsen congressional democrat’s prospects in the 2010 midterm election.  Unlike most of Obama’s policy battles, it wasn’t republican opponents forcing his hand.  It was his own lack of political skill which brought on the perception of an inept president and administration.

Read Robert Kuttner’s piece about how this president repeatedly fails to use events to communicate to the public and advance his agenda.  The author of A Presidency in Peril, Kuttner is a pragmatic progressive who believes Obama – and we – are just about out of time. 

Eagerly waiting their turn is what Kuttner calls a “truly lunatic rightwing.”

I’ve said before that Obama obviously has great assets but just doesn’t seem to have presidential instincts.

Did I hear someone say “Hillary in 2012?”

Comments (3)


  1. OMG… we need to move away from war, and Hillary is not the one to do that.

    Give the guy a chance.

  2. Mark Doering-Powell says:

    Its true that “no drama Obama” can also be a bit Spock’ish. As the joke goes, “I’ve been briefed on your pain…”.

    My take on it… I’d rather have a rational President making good decisions than concern myself too much on how he acts. I try to focus on the decisions & policies, and there are things to critique there. Further, my radar for insincere political outrage is very sensitive – so I shy away from that.

    The situation with BP’s spill is certainly grounds for outrage by all involved, I think the public’s response to it has been too mild. What else has to happen to make people see we’re on unsustainable paths.

    I also think the bigger problem is that too many of our politicians (on either side of the aisle) are in the pockets of Big Corporations and huge lobbying efforts. I really do want to see leaders there that can keep themselves more immune to the influence, while still being able to play an effective political game on the hill. Not an easy task considering the vast sums of money poured into lobbying.

  3. Salvador Sanchez says:

    The lofty rhetoric he gave us during his campaign is at sharp odds with his reactionary ways of handling problems. I don’t know about Hillary.

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