Saturday, October 31, 2009

Too Small to Lead


By Michael Gerson | Real Clear Politics | October 30, 2009

There are many reasons why Obama, according to Gallup, has suffered the largest decline in approval, at this portion in his term, of any elected president since 1953 -- and why more Americans believe in UFOs than approve of the job done by Congress. But one reason is surely the bitter, brittle tone of the new Democratic establishment -- highlighted by the promise they have raised and disappointed.

How did the tonal candidate become so tone-deaf? We have always known that there are two Obamas. One is the thoughtful, Niebuhr-quoting professor, who listens to every side and speaks inspiring words of unity. The other Obama comes from Chicago, and suffers from an excess of Chicagoans around him. Many Democrats seem to like the street-brawling side of Obama and his team. Many independents and Republicans seem less enthusiastic that Mr. Hyde has moved in his furniture and clearly plans to stay.

America in 2008 and Virginia in 2009 show that tone is an underestimated factor in American politics. Positive candidates in these races have looked like leaders and winners. Negativity has seemed trivial. Virginians seem to be deciding that Deeds is too small to be governor. Obama seems intent on proving that he is too small to be an effective president.

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