It’s easy for conservatives to get disappointed when looking at the mess of a GOP field. But then you hear interviews like this one, and think, maybe, just maybe, there’s a glimmer of hope for Republicans:
In a TODAY exclusive, Matt Lauer asked Obama about his supporters’ disappointment over his first-term performance — that they believe he hasn’t been “the transformational political figure they hoped you would be.”
“What’s frustrated people is that I have not be able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008,” he said.
“That’s just the nature of being president,” he said. “It turns out that our founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.
“What I’m going to just keep on doing is plodding away, very persistent. And you know what? One of the things about being president is you get better as time goes on.”
Have things really gotten so bad for Obama that he’s been forced to campaign on the “Just give me a few more years, I’m starting to get the hang of this” platform?
The worst part about it is it’s completely and utterly false. His only significant legislative accomplishments came early in his presidency, when Democrats still controlled both the House and Senate. The president hasn’t figured out how to work with House Republicans, and his relationship with Speaker Boehner has only deteriorated over time. After the next 10 months, which Obama will spend campaigning against the “do-nothing Congress,” does anybody really expect the ice to melt if he wins a second term?
Obama’s apologia to his disillusioned supporters is “it’s not me, it’s the broken Washington system.” The problem is, that’s the same “broken system” these voters sent him to Washington to fix back in 2008. That excuse won’t cut it.
What’s frustrating Obama supporters isn’t that he hasn’t been able to “force Congress to implement every aspect of what [he] said in 2008.” Nobody ever expected him to “force” Congress to do anything. He was elected based on his brand as a “consensus-builder” and a “post-partisan” – his plan was to persuade, not to coerce. That wasn’t particularly difficult to do back when the people he had to win over were members of his own party. But when the public rejected Obama’s policies and handed the House over to Republicans, his great powers of persuasion were rendered shockingly ineffective. And no, the president hasn’t gotten any better at it.