I'm not sure which stage of grief we're in with the Obama presidency but I rather enjoyed this headline from the Washington Post this weekend:
Can any president succeed in today’s political world?
Why, I haven't heard that question since the late 1970s!
Here's a snippet of the argument:
News is being made — and covered — literally every minute of the day across the world and, as president, Obama is forced to read and react to virtually all of it. (One advantage for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the presidential election: As a challenger candidate, he can pick and choose where he sounds off.)
Layer over the constant stream of news with the fact that Twitter, blogs and cable television turn every slip of the tongue, misstatements or gaffe into a mountain — “the private sector is doing fine” being a prime, recent example — and it’s clear that the idea that the president can drive the hourly, daily or weekly message of his choosing feels outdated. The bully pulpit may still exist, but it’s far less bully than it once was.
That’s especially true not only because the fracturing of the media makes it hard to push a clear message but also because roughly half of the American public doesn’t want to hear the message (whatever it is) because it is of the other party.
As someone who thinks Americans place far too much trust and hope in their elected officials, I don't mind it if people realize that these politicians aren't so hot. But this almost seems more a lament for the loss of control the media once held than anything else.
And given how the media have frequently crafted narratives or pushed candidacies that hurt the country, I can't be too sad about it.
Still, this leads me to another question. Normally I argue that we can't analyze how well a presidency is going while we're in it. Even if you just look at the last several presidents, their good and bad decisions look different with a bit of distance. Do we have the perspective needed to judge this presidency?