Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

The Mortalizing of Barack Obama

A movement founded on the promise that "we are the ones we've been waiting for" was always at risk of landing with a bump. As President Obama himself has noted, the infectious poetry that fuelled his 2008 campaign naturally gave way to the turgid prose of governance and its attendant compromises. In order to ensure congressional passage of a legislative foundation for health care reform, he disappointed progressives by choosing not to fight for the public option. And his dreams of post-partisanship were quickly dashed on the jagged rocks of a conservative backlash pressing the Republicans to resist his agenda at every turn. Still, despite a daily dose of media predictions of doom and gloom for his young presidency, Obama's Gallup job-approval rating never dipped into the 30% range, as it had done for two-term Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan during their first two years in office. Obama may never have been "the One," as Oprah Winfrey dubbed him, but he might not be doing quite as badly as his headlines suggest.