QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 8:41 A.M. ET: From political commentator Mark Halperin, who tilts left, on the awkward political style of the president. From TIME, which is still publishing, on some kind of crinkly material:
...Obama has exacerbated his political problems not just by failing to enact policies that would have actually turned the economy around, but also by authorizing a series of tactical moves intended to demonize Republicans and distract from the problems at hand. He has wasted time lambasting his foes when he should have been putting forth his agenda in a clear, optimistic fashion, defending the benefits of his key decisions during the past two years (health care and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, for example) and explaining what he would do with a re-elected Democratic majority to spur growth.
Throughout the year, we have been treated to Obama-led attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Congressman Joe Barton (for his odd apology to BP), John Boehner (for seeking the speakership — or was it something about an ant?) and Fox News (for everything). Suitable Democratic targets in some cases, perhaps, but not worth the time of a busy Commander in Chief. In the past few days, we have witnessed the spectacle of the President himself and his top advisers wading into allegations that Republicans are attempting to buy the election using foreign money laundered through the Chamber of Commerce, combining with Karl Rove and his wealthy backers to fund a flood of negative television commercials. Not only is this issue convoluted and far-fetched, but it also distracts from the issues voters care about, frustrating political insiders and alienating struggling citizens (not that many are following such an offbeat story line). Feinting and gibing can't obscure those job numbers.
COMMENT: I think that nails it, especially coming from a liberal. The president, who has many fine qualities, just isn't presidential. Peggy Noonan once wrote about Ronald Reagan that he "knew how to be president." You have to know how. It may be instinctive, it may be learned. But the people must have confidence that the president is "The President." They lack that confidence in Obama, whose whole political training was in the Chicago political machine. But the presidency isn't about getting stop signs for the neighborhood school or organizing workers at a lamp factory.
Mr. Obama was not ready, and it's sad.
October 11, 2010