Sunday, January 03, 2010

Compensation II

Most of all, Mr. Obama has exploded his own credentials as the agent of (genuine) hope and change. The promise to remodel the essentially harsh nature of modern politics, to seek transformation in the tone and substance of public life, to end Washington's buying and selling, is seen now, and seen very reluctantly such was the real hope he inspired, as empty. His White House is as dagger partisan as Richard Nixon's.

Almost a full year into his presidency, Mr. Obama is at a dangerous point. His ability to inspire has all but departed. The novelty of his historic ascension is over. And, late though it be, there are now questions about his effectiveness. As there are also doubts about whether that magnificently cool presence – his much-touted ability to distance himself from the turbulence and passions of those around him – springs from a fear of being overwhelmed by events rather than a confidence in mastering them.

No wonder Time gave him a pass.