July 26, 2010


Obama distances himself from voters (Keith Koffler, 7/26/10, Politico)

It’s not just Obama’s overall leadership polls that are looking bad. Americans increasingly seem to not really like him and to view him as distant. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey conducted last month, less than half responded positively when asked if Obama is “honest and straightforward.” Some 30 percent said they “do not really relate” to the president, compared with just 8 percent who felt that way at the start of his presidency.

The Obama family’s recent summer getaway to the establishment vacation mecca of Bar Harbor, Maine, crystallized the president’s lost political touch. Just days before departing for Maine, first lady Michelle Obama was in Panama City, Fla., urging Americans to vacation on the Gulf and “come on down here and spend some money.”

The sense that such a vacation is for others — and not for the Obamas — provided a true Marie Antoinette moment that may be hard to live down. Late last week, after criticism of the Bar Harbor choice, the Obamas announced that they had found a weekend in August to sojourn briefly on the Gulf Coast. But the political damage is probably already done.

That Obama also relaxes in Hawaii — though his childhood home, it’s viewed by many Americans as a kind of paradise that they can never get to — and on tony Martha’s Vineyard evinces a penchant for ritziness that can’t help him with the general public.

Neither will the Portuguese Water Dog. Why not a mutt, or at least a Golden Retriever? [...]

Obama’s apparently unquenchable thirst for golf — he’s gone out 41 times since becoming president, according to White House chronicler Mark Knoller of CBS News — could cost him with a Democratic base that thought he was somehow one of them.

Most community organizers have other ways of relaxing, I’m willing to bet. And most voters, of course, either can’t afford, or don’t have time, for regular rounds of golf.

But beyond bungling the symbolism, Obama is failing to use the tools of the office that could help him win Americans’ hearts and secure solid support.

...is that it is because his attempts to use those tools has been so uniformly counterproductive that the UR has given up on them. His next good speech will be his first since at least the 2004 convention.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 26, 2010 2:13 PM
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