Obama came into office riding a wave of hope about change. Now that he has been in office for a while, the big change seems to be a loss of hope.
While the Obama administration managed to succeed in the health care matter, there seem to be few other clear victories. One aspect of the problem is that much of what he has done was focused on damage control in regards to the economy and handling the two wars that he inherited. In the case of the economy, his efforts probably helped prevent something significantly worse. However, telling people “hey, it could be a lot worse” generally does not win them over or make them glow with positive feelings. What people focus on is not how much worse it could have been, but how bad it is and that they want it to be much better. While the Republicans have worked hard to foster this perception, the folks in the Obama administration have failed to fight an effective propaganda war. More importantly, while the big companies are growing fat once more, “main street” Americans are still facing high unemployment and other economic woes that were largely created by the companies that are doing quite well now. Obama and his fellows seem to be unable to solve this problem.
Obama and his administration are also the target of a massive propaganda effort on the part of pundits like Rush and Beck. He is also the prime target of Fox News. While the rest of the media is supposed to be liberally biased, they seem to be quite willing to criticize him now. This, of course, does not help Obama. The administration seems to have lost the old Obama magic that enabled him to charm (or, some might say, dominate) many folks in the media. Now, it would seem, he is just another President.
Obama has also been hampered by Congress. While his party is in charge, the Democrats are…well, Democrats. While comedians such as Jon Stewart like to make fun of the Democrats ability to screw themselves, much of the mocking is grounded in solid facts. To use a specific example, Obama promised that he would get “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed. While most Americans favor his plan, the attempt to repeal it failed in an orgy of political bickering. This makes the administration look ineffective and also makes congress look even worse.
I think some of the problems Obama is having can also be attributed to his lack of experience as well as his character. He does not seem inclined, as of yet, to do the sort of things that are needed to actually get things done in the fetid swamp that is Washington. He also seems unable to herd the Democrats (to be fair, that is harder than herding drunken cats), keep the confidence of those who believed in him, and effectively fight against the Republicans and their media allies.
Obama still has time to turn things around. Of course, he also has the time to win the undesirable title of Carter The Second.