Obama: The shrinking president
Presidents generally gain stature in office, says James W. Ceaser in The Weekly Standard, but Obama's descent into petty attacks makes him look smaller by the day
The American presidency is a big job, says James W. Ceaser in The Weekly Standard, but our elected leaders usually grow into it. Not so Barack Obama. Though, as a candidate, he promptly adopted a statesmanlike and presidential tone, promising to "tamp down conflict," he's been on a "slippery slope" since he took office. Now "the peculiar magic of his presidential campaign" is just "a faded memory." Far from healing "the planet," argues Ceaser, he now seems primarily concerned about finding an enemy "ass to kick," disparaging everyone from "fat cats on Wall Street" to Republicans in general. Here, an excerpt:
Barack Obama has managed a rare feat in American history: The longer he is president, the less presidential he has become. Obama has reversed the usual process of growth and maturation, appearing today far more like a candidate for the presidency — and a very ordinary one at that — than he did during the latter stages of his campaign....
It may be... that Obama has created a box for himself from which he cannot escape. He has so monopolized and personalized the public relations aspect of his office that now only his own voice can speak for the presidency.... [and] a president who has become his own chief point man puts at risk an asset that is helpful to his standing and vital for the nation’s political system: the dignity of the presidential office.