Stumbling out the gate: Barack Obama flubs his first big test.
From the NY Daily News:
It's not easy to waste a mandate and a honeymoon at the same time, but President Obama seems determined to try. You know he's off to a lousy start when his most favorable reviews came after he said, "I screwed up."
Did he ever, and not just once. If he keeps going this way, America will be saying, "We screwed up."
He's our President, it's a horribly dangerous time at home and abroad and we desperately need him to succeed. But he can't be successful unless he builds a broad swath of public trust in his leadership. So far, he's going backward.
It's very early, but it's worrisome that Obama has stumbled almost since he took the oath. His inauguration speech was uninspired and next to nothing has gone right for him. Already he looks like he needs a vacation.
The historic young President with the political wind at his back has quickly turned testy toward those who disagree with him. Despite promises to the contrary, he's been so rigid that the defeated Republicans are relevant again.
Obama's fumbled rollout is surprising, given a smooth and skillful transition. He appointed key players early, talked repeatedly of being ready "to hit the ground running" and was eager to get off to a fast start.
Maybe too fast. His vetting of top aides was shockingly sloppy, and he has been concerned primarily with the speed of the stimulus bill, not its contents. The failed vetting produced a string of embarrassments over tax dodgers and influence peddlers, and his embrace of the flawed stimulus has put him on the wrong side of the American public, with only about 1 in 3 voters with him.
Even more surprising, his famously cool temperament is AWOL. He has been visibly frustrated at what he calls needless delay, despite a rapid timetable given the whopping price tag of the stimulus legislation and the uncertainty of its impact.
He should genuinely welcome those who want to make the bill better. After all, there's never been much doubt he would get a huge package passed, so he doesn't need to make enemies over it. The only real question is whether it will succeed.
But unable to get his way quickly, he pulled rank with a snippy, "I won." When the Senate insisted on debate, he turned to harsh attacks and campaign-style rhetoric. Some insiders already are grumbling about disarray and arrogance.
So much for a change in Washington. ...(more)