A story in Politico argues:
The president’s reluctance to be a Democratic version of Ronald Reagan, who spoke without apology about his vaulting ideological ambitions, has produced an odd turn of events: Obama has been the most activist domestic president in decades, but the philosophy behind his legislative achievements remains muddy in the eyes of many supporters and skeptics alike. There is not yet such a thing as “Obamism.”
It’s not that muddy, actually. According to a Democracy Corp poll, fully 57 percent of likely voters consider Obama “too liberal.” And there is such a thing as Obamism; it is an unprecedented effort to increase the size, scope, reach, and cost of the federal government. Obamaism is in many respects the antithesis if Reaganism.
The Politico story also advances this thesis:
By declining to speak clearly and often about his larger philosophy – and insisting that his actions are guided not by ideology but a results-oriented “pragmatism” – [Obama] has bred confusion and disappointment among his allies, and left his agenda and motives vulnerable to distortion by his enemies.
But Americans consider themselves, by a margin of more than two-to-one, to be conservative rather than liberal. And as a general matter, the public, at least in national elections, punishes political figures who proudly flaunt their liberalism. For Obama to go further out of his way to lock in the impression that he’s a philosophical liberal would be evidence of a political death wish. The reason Obama won the presidency is that he convinced enough voters of being not as liberal as his legislative record indicated.
Then there’s this counsel from Robert Reich:
What may be missing from the White House is a clear and convincing narrative into which all the various initiatives neatly fit, so that the public can make sense of everything that’s done … Obama needs to connect the dots in a way that explains to the public what he’s done and where’s he’s taking the nation.
Of course; the main problem plaguing Obama and the Democrats is a lack of clear and convincing narrative. All the president needs to do is connect all those random dots. The public is just plain ignorant of what he’s done and where he’s taking the nation; if only they knew the true story: Obama has delivered us to the land of milk and honey.
The truth is that the nation sees all too well what he has done and where he’s taking the nation. The public is in the process of connecting the dots — and the picture that’s emerging is a most unpleasant one.
The problems facing the president are that the economy is slumping and jobs are disappearing, Obama’s policies are widely seen as ineffective, his claims and promises have been disproven time and again, and he’s viewed by a majority of the nation as too liberal and, increasingly, as inept.
The counsel provided to Obama in the Politico story is worthless or worse. Obama’s fundamental problem is reality, not optics, not missing narratives, not unconnected dots. His presidency is, at this moment, failing, as the result of a series of deeply unwise decisions. He and his party are reaping what they have sown.