Things have gotten so out of whack in the White House that even Maureen Dowd is forced to call foul. As for the mopey president she declares:
Though he demonstrated in the campaign that he has a rare gift for inspiring the country with new belief in itself, Mr. Obama has not yet captured either the grit the moment requires or the fury it provokes. He has not explained in a compelling way why Americans who followed the rules need to sacrifice more to help those who flouted the rules.
But then she really surprises, calling out Eric Holder who accused America of being cowards on the topic of race:
Eric Holder, who showed precious little bravery in standing up to Clinton on a pardon for the scoundrel Marc Rich, is wrong. We have just inaugurated a black president who installed a black attorney general.
We need leaders to help us through our crises, not provide us with crude evaluations of our character. And we don’t need sermons from liberal virtuecrats, anymore than from conservative virtuecrats.
(Well you didn’t expect her to criticize the beloved Leader without throwing an elbow at the Right did you?) And she adds for emphasis:
In the middle of all the Heimlich maneuvers required now — for the economy, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, health care, the environment and education — we don’t need a Jackson/Sharpton-style lecture on race. Barack Obama’s election was supposed to get us past that.
Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Let’s be honest here. Aside from the vetting fiascos, the herky-jerky bailout plans, and the subcontracting of his stimulus plan to the Democrats, the tone of this administration has been disastrously Carteresque. Alternating between sanctimony and gloom, the president seems to have lost his rhetorical grip. Did he use up all his material in the campaign? While doing his best to depress and scare us at home, he has yet to figure out on the international policy front that he can now stop chastising former administrations and stop apologizing and agonizing about our actions for the last few decades.
Much as it may pain the former community organizer, Obama’s job is not now to criticize, demean, rile and anger the public. We thought he, better than most politicians in recent memory, understood the power of rhetoric to lift and inspire, but maybe that only worked as a campaign tactic. Now there is no George Bush to kick around. And the result seems to be a surly and depressive presidency. Perhaps we were not the change we were waiting for after all.