Jay Cost takes a look at the change in treatment of Obama by the media and public with numerous examples from prior Presidencies:
For all the power that the 44th president had a few years ago, he’s now little more than a spectator, waiting and watching like the rest of us to see what happens next. [The Presidential election] comes down to three things: How much the economy grows over the next five months; what the Supreme Court does with Obamacare; and finally whether Mitt Romney can persuade Americans that he’d do a better job over the next four years…So now, President Obama’s fate is really out of his hands.
Why is Obama flailing so much differently than his well-oiled 2008 campaign?
Political winds are funny things. When they are blowing in from behind, leaders look poised, in control, and powerful. When they are blowing into their face, they look overwhelmed, out of their depth, and utterly impotent…
[W]hen the wind is blowing in your face, it is really very difficult to look like you are in full control. More likely, the press will make a mountain out of every tiny molehill, and old assets will suddenly become liabilities.
That’s what we’re seeing with Barack Obama. There are plenty of examples of ways in which he is criticized now, but either he or his predecessors were not scolded in the past for similar behavior. Take his love of golfing; he certainly has not golfed more than, say, Dwight Eisenhower. So what’s the problem? It’s that the unemployment rate has been persistently elevated during his tenure, while it was quite low during Ike’s time.
How about fundraising? Candidate Obama sure did plenty of that in 2008, and in fact raised the bar for money to be raised in a campaign. Yet nobody said a peep. Now, it is a big issue that he is fundraising so regularly. Why? It’s that darned unemployment rate.
And we saw it just last week. Obama stuck his foot in his mouth with that comment about the private sector “doing fine,” but he sticks his foot in his mouth all the time! Remember bitter clingers? Remember his crack about the Special Olympics? Remember “lipstick on a pig”? Remember “you’re likable enough, Hillary”? Remember “spread the wealth around”? All of this stuff was typically glossed over, with only Obama’s conservative opponents focusing on any of it.
What made last week’s gaffe so memorable was not that it was out of character for this president, but that his political position has eroded since he made any of those old gaffes. In 2008, he could stick his foot in his mouth about small town Pennsylvania and not pay a political price for it because he was not responsible in any way for the region’s economic decline. But could you imagine if he said that now?