While I don’t agree with everything Frank Rich wrote in his column today — for example, Rich seems to think Congress should abandon health care reform — but he’s right here:
Obamaâ€™s plight has been unchanged for months. Neither in action nor in message is he in front of the anger roiling a country where high unemployment remains unchecked and spiraling foreclosures are demolishing the bedrock American dream of home ownership. The president is no longer seen as a savior but as a captive of the interests who ginned up the mess and still profit, hugely, from it. …
…Obama has blundered, not by positioning himself too far to the left but by landing nowhere â€” frittering away his political capital by being too vague, too slow and too deferential to Congress. The smartest thing said as the Massachusetts returns came in Tuesday night was by Howard Fineman on MSNBC: â€œObama took all his winnings and turned them over to Max Baucus.â€
President Obama is only one year into his term. Can he reboot his administration? Can he recapture some momentum? I think it’s possible for someone of great political skill — Bill Clinton comes to mind — to dig out of a hole and reclaim public confidence, but whether Obama can do it remains to be seen.
The return of David Plouffe indicates the White House knows it has to change course. However, it shouldn’t be the job of a political adviser to tell the President to stop being vague, slow and deferential.
Other Stuff to Read: Bob Herbert, “They Still Don’t Get It”
Update: It won’t happen, but here’s one way the Obama Administration could shake things up.