Just five years ago, Barack Obama was still a local politician in Illinois, preparing for a run for the US Senate. His office wall in Chicago at the time was decorated with the famous picture of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston, after knocking him out in a heavyweight title fight. Ali famously boasted that he could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” But now that Mr Obama is president, he seems to float like a butterfly – and sting like one as well.
The notion that Mr Obama is a weak leader is now spreading in ways that are dangerous to his presidency. The fact that he won the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday will not change this impression. Peace is all very well. But Mr Obama now needs to pick a fight in public – and win it with a clean knock-out.
In truth, the Norwegians did the US president no favours by giving him the peace prize after less than a year in office. The award will only embellish a portrait of the president that has been painted in ever more vivid colours by his political enemies. The right argues that Mr Obama is a man who has been wildly applauded and promoted for not doing terribly much. Now the Nobel committee seems to be making their point for them. [continued…]
The Obama administration really needs to get over itself.
First, the president and his aides go to war with Fox News because the network maintains a generally anti-Obama slant.
Then, an anonymous administration aide attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant.
These are not disconnected developments.
An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants. [continued…]