The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt has it: Obama's problem isn't bitter partisanship, GOP obstructionism, or even Rahm Emanuel. It's that he's so damned morose.
Case in point: David Axelrod said a few weeks ago that going to Sasha's and Malia's recitals and soccer games is part of how Obama "sustains himself through all this." Responds Hiatt, "Really? Is the presidency something to sustain yourself through? He did ask for this job." Here's his argument:
I know, it's the world's hardest job, and between war and the world economy collapsing, he didn't have the first year he might have wished for. And, yes, he's damned either way: With thousands of Americans risking their lives overseas and millions losing their jobs at home, we'd slam him if he acted carefree.Hiatt acknowledges the complexity of the matter: Americans liked Obama to begin with because he didn't get high off the "adoring throngs." But still, he thinks, it would be nice "if he'd show us, despite everything, that he's happy we hired them." Obama might get a little more good will, he suggests, if only he could show a little more "jauntiness"--sort of like "FDR or JFK."
Still, I think Americans want a president who seems, despite everything, to relish the challenge. They don't want to have to feel grateful to him for taking on the burden.