President Obama is returned to office, quite comfortably in the end; only he looked anything but comfortable.
The oratory in the Presidents victory speech was familiar, right down to the repetition of phrases and anecdotes that have worked well for him many times before. Only they seemed out of place and at odds with his countenance. That slim youthfulness wears the strains of office and endless campaigning easily, but there was no joy in him. It felt like the passion had gone, drained away by four years of political reality.
Obama couldn’t arouse the faithful with a “let’s finish what we started” message because not much has started and what was finished [Obamacare] turned out not to be as popular as it should have been. Best he could do through the first term was to hose down fires with no surety that they would go out [jobs, deficit, war].
You could see it all in his speech. All the issues that he really wanted to speak about truthfully but couldn’t mention replaced with things he had to say but only half believed.
Nothing about reigning in the banks and the profit driven end of town.
Nothing about deficit being debt and that debt can readily become living beyond your means.
Nothing about how war might start out as an economic stimulus but over time is crippling to both treasury and psyche.
Nothing to say about the idea that incomes may not always need to rise for voters to be happy.
Obama did say thank you because he is a polite man and was clearly grateful for avoiding failure. He didn’t manage to inspire hope and didn’t look like he was invigorated to start anew. And this is a pity because the only way to tackle those unmentionables is head on making sure to bring the people with you.
There is still a chance because hope never dies, even if in Obama it seems to have been drained and jaded by the magnitude of the task.
Leadership really is a tough gig in a modern world of individual entitlement.