Still wondering who President Obama is
Something's not right. Back on Oct. 6, I marveled at four opinion pieces on President Obama's character that essentially asked, "Who is this guy?" Four months later -- one year into his presidency and on the eve of his first State of the Union address -- the question is still being asked. Both Gene Robinson and Bob Herbert today make this nettlesome inquiry in their columns today.
Robinson wants the president to resist the calls for him to don the cloak of populism while addressing the mounting national anger. "What's important is that he speak in a clear voice, a definitive voice," he writes. "When he draws a line in the sand -- about health care, jobs, energy, whatever -- he should do everything in his power to defend that line, even if it means bruised feelings and ruffled feathers."
But that's part of the problem. On health care, jobs, energy, whatever, Obama has been consistent in his push to address these issues. Yet he has been irritatingly inconsistent on the details of those policies. That line in the sand seems to move every time the tide changes. And that's why the last lines of Herbert's critical column today resonates. "Americans want to know what he stands for, where his line in the sand is, what he’ll really fight for, and where he wants to lead this nation," he writes. "They want to know who their president really is."
That the American people don't feel they have the answer to that question is driving the president's poll numbers down and feeding the smoldering panic in the Democratic Party. If Obama doesn't want it to become an inferno as we head to the November midterm elections, he's got to show the American people who he is.
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