Ruth Marcus, a prominent columnist for The Washington Post and an Obama supporter (I know – a redundancy) has some pretty strong tea for Obama. This is from someone who, to quote her, “generally shares the president’s ideological perspective”:
For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action — unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful.
Each of these instances can be explained on its own terms, as matters of legislative strategy, geopolitical calculation or political prudence.
He didn’t want to get mired in legislative details during the health care debate for fear of repeating the Clinton administration’s prescriptive, take-ours-or-leave-it approach. He doesn’t want to go first on proposing entitlement reform because history teaches that this is not the best route to a deal. He didn’t want to say anything too tough about Libya for fear of endangering Americans trapped there. He didn’t want to weigh in on the labor battle in Wisconsin because, well, it’s a swing state.
Yet the dots connect to form an unsettling portrait of a “Where’s Waldo?” presidency: You frequently have to squint to find the White House amid the larger landscape. (italics mine – ed.)
Is this really a surprise to any conservative who saw that his 143 days in the Senate and his record of voting “present” to preserve a clean legislative record was all part of a plan to hide his emptiness and promote electability? He was, and is, everything and nothing at the same time.
Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about this last August – a bit dated but still relevant.
Marcus goes on to say (in support of Obama – I think?):
If the president is being simultaneously accused of overreaching ambition and gutless fight-ducking, maybe he’s doing something right.
There is an old saying in poker and sports – “you can’t beat something with nothing”. Politics and elections are entirely something else altogether. In a media driven age where perception is valued more than reality and the saying “image is everything” has transcended from a bromide into the truth, we now have living evidence in the personage of Barack H. Obama that you can, in fact, beat something with nothing.
“Where’s Waldo?” indeed…