retrospective on O’s first year

Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthammer wrote pieces this week about Barack Obama’s first year as president and their view of what went wrong. Why did such a popular president crash so far in the polls so soon?

Here is a small part of Ms. Noonan’s article that I think gets to the nub of it:

The people are here, and he is there. The popularity of his health care plan is very low, at 35% support. Someone on television the other day noted it is as low as George Bush’s popularity ratings in 2008.

Yet—and this is the key part—the president does not seem to see or hear. He does not respond. He is not supple, able to hear reservations and see opposition and change tack. He has a grim determination to bull this thing through. He negotiates each day with Congress, not with the people. But the people hate Congress! Has he not noticed?

and here is the part where Mr. Krauthammer just nails it:

At first, health care reform was sustained politically by Obama’s own popularity. But then gravity took hold, and Obamacare’s profound unpopularity dragged him down with it. After 29 speeches and a fortune in squandered political capital, it still will not sell.

The health care drive is the most important reason Obama has sunk to 46 percent. But this reflects something larger. In the end, what matters is not the persona but the agenda. In a country where politics is fought between the 40-yard lines, Obama has insisted on pushing hard for the 30. And the American people — disorganized and unled but nonetheless agitated and mobilized — have put up a stout defense somewhere just left of midfield.

anyway, go read them and see if you agree or not.


One Response

  1. […] It is long but delicious. Combined with Jonah’s book it explains a lot of the disconnect that Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthammer have been noticing. […]

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