Beyond the economy, the wars and the polls, President Obama has a problem: people.What we have here is a recipe for a one-term President, or, a totally ineffective two-term President.
This president endures with little joy the small talk and back-slapping of retail politics, rarely spends more than a few minutes on a rope line, refuses to coddle even his biggest donors. His relationship with Democrats on Capitol Hill is frosty, to be generous. Personal lobbying on behalf of legislation? He prefers to leave that to Vice President Biden, an old-school political charmer.
Obama’s circle of close advisers is as small as the cluster of personal friends that predates his presidency. There is no entourage, no Friends of Barack to explain or defend a politician who has confounded many supporters with his cool personality and penchant for compromise.
Obama is, in short, a political loner who prefers policy over the people who make politics in this country work....
With just over a year before Election Day 2012, advisers say that Obama recognizes his people problem and is working to address it. Beyond the Saturday reconnect sessions, his stump speeches advocating for his jobs plan are becoming more populist and partisan. He is outside the Beltway more, reaching out to voters. His supporters, though still worried, are starting to like what they see.
But inside the Beltway, the legacy of his relationship, or lack thereof, with Democrats on the Hill remains a problem for his jobs plan — and, by extension, his political future.
A senior Democratic strategist told my colleague Chris Cillizza recently that “the person running out of air most quickly” is Obama himself, and there may not be many who come to his rescue.
“We’re about a year out from the elections, and the senators are turning to their own races,” the strategist said. “They don’t have a lot of energy or political capital to spare for the president at this point.”
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The Loner President
Boy, does this sound like Jimmy Carter! According to the Washington Post White House correspondent Scott Wilson: