Obama charm falters
By: Bikram Vohra
Does the US President make the media spin or does the media make the prez hop to its tune? A bit of both but in recent months the media has painted a rather bleak picture of the White House incumbent and harkened back to the black days of the Bush administration. Historically, America loves to hate its president, which is why there is such a brouhaha about the second term.
A recent poll done at an American university places 33 percent of the 1,446 people who voted in the survey as labeling Obama the worst president in the history of the USA, even behind George Bush Jr. who came in with 28 percent of the vote.
It is a bit harsh and the fact that beating up on the incumbent is a sport, Obama does have to pay the price. That said, the humor, the smooth as cream speech delivery and the cock of the head mannerisms have worn a bit thin. It has become boring and predictable.
OK, let’s even up this playing field a bit. If he was so bad why did they vote him into a second term of office? The answer is blowing in the wind.
There is no leader of grand stature at the moment. Not one name comes up who can create a nationwide difference as The Man. In fact, it is cruel irony that Ronald Reagan is seen as the best POTUS since 1945 even eclipsing the Kennedy charisma.
So, what has Obama done wrong. He pushed Obamacare which was not such a bad idea in itself as anyone paying through their nose for medical care will confirm. He has pulled the troops and brought them home.
He has downgraded Gitmo and is reluctant to up the stakes by sending troops on ground to other countries thereby holding on to a tattered peace in the Middle East. He has backed off being the global policeman, has dragged his feet on Syria for sure by not spearheading a stop to the crisis but Americans don’t really care about anything beyond their borders to the extent that these factors don’t contribute to his unpopularity.
It is the way the media has bruised him on issues like the economy, foreign policy, health care and terrorism, giving up a B plus only on the actions he has initiated on the environmental front.
For Obama, the next two years are not going to be easy and even Michelle’s calming presence may not be enough. What is happening in Iraq and Syria demand attention. By the same token the UN needs a stronger and more decisive role by the US.
JFK’s big bear in the north is growling a lot more than you think and Washington’s inability to rein in Russian adventurism is interpreted over TV and media as weak and unsure. By the same token he has no control on China’s purchase of swathes of Africa and its growing presence in that hemisphere.
Clearly, words are not going to be enough. Also,there seems to be a flagging interest by Obama himself with just under two years to go and nothing really to fight for by risking his neck and going down in history as another cowboy.
The current mood in the US seems one where there are frames on the political hall of fame and no contenders for that role model that makes Americans sleep well at night.
Will Obama worry too much about these survey figures. I think not. He will just sidestep the sticky issues.