...and Barack Obama is a smart man, then what do you think ought to overwhelmingly define the next few months of his presidency?
I like him, and I appreciate that he's offered a demeanor different from his predecessors. (For what it's worth, I would define Mr. Obama as "cool", Mr. [George W.] Bush as "stubborn", Mr. Clinton as "determined", and Mr. [George H. W.] Bush as "cautious.")
But that cool attitude, to me, comes off too often as aloof; this president cannot afford to be aloof. Whether he is, is not the point. He cannot afford to appear that way.
I understand that a president can only do so much to repair the economy. And this economy is a mess.
If President Bush was undermined, in part, by a national perception that he didn't care about the economic well-being of average Americans, then this one might very well be undermined by a perception that he doesn't care enough about getting his hands dirty and fixing the problem.
President Obama has sought some noble (no pun intended) international goals -- repairing relations with the Middle East and Russia are at the top -- and he delivered some important speeches in various international locales. That's all well and good, but I wonder if Americans really care about those efforts.
More importantly, they might not reward him for it.
Mr. Obama is correct in reminding us that patience will be required -- this economic morass was many years in the making and cannot be repaired with a short-term solution. But a, dare I say it, stubborn and determined approach to addressing the issue is required.
That would be prudent. Because it is the economy, stupid. And the mission is not accomplished.