Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the NYT spins Obama's ineffectiveness as a virtue. He uses "gentle persuasion" rather than arm-twisting, is intellectual instead of physical, etc. But this anecdote was revealing:
Tempers were fraying in the White House Cabinet Room as night turned into morning on Jan. 15. President Obama had been cloistered nearly all day with House and Senate Democrats, playing “marriage counselor,” an aide said, as he coaxed, cajoled and prodded them on a health care overhaul.When the seas don't part before him he leaves in a huff. This isn't what most of us think of as leadership. Rather more like a spoiled child who doesn't get his way.
As the clock neared 1 a.m., the two sides were at an impasse. Mr. Obama stood up.
“ ‘See what you guys can figure out,’ ” one participant remembers him saying, adding that the failed effort left the president mad. Another Democrat who was there, Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, said Mr. Obama left “frustrated that while he was putting out ways to bridge the problem, we hadn’t reached a conclusion.”
Jennifer Rubin comments:
Read the rest.
Everything is so hard, it seems, for Obama. The Middle East is hard. Health-care reform is hard. None of it just “happens,” as he might have imagined would happen when he appeared on the scene.
The Times tries to put it gently, suggesting that “Mr. Obama has not been the sort to bludgeon his party into following his lead or to intimidate reluctant legislators.” Maybe “it is not clear whether his gentle, consensus-building style will be enough.” He is just too darn “lofty” and also doggone devoted to “appeals to conscience and history that were his hallmark on the campaign trail.” Hmm. Could it be none of that is really the problem – and rather that he’s just not very effective when it comes to getting things done?
A little reality slips in via one lawmaker, who says Obama needs more “toughness” and doesn’t, come to think of it, really dominate the room. What?! The President of the United States doesn’t dominate the room? What’s he there for, then?
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