2011-01-27 / View From the Middle

Obama Starting To Sound Presidential Again

View From The Middle
Charles Rogers

That Barack Obama, the sonofagun, has been fooling us! At least, for most of the last two years, anyway. When I voted for him — and I did vote for him — it was a matter of choice between two completely different tickets. I didn’t have too much against John McCain at the time and, had he not made such a bad choice of running mate in Sarah Palin, I might have chosen him. Right wing didn’t have that much to do with it, either. Political philosophy did.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama became my man in the ballot box and I knew I’d have to live with it for at least the next four years. Little did I know that he’d be such a slow starter. I can’t tell you how many times I beat my head against a wall, saying to myself, “Why? Why did I vote for this wimp in the first place?”

Well…I didn’t really beat my head against a wall. It was my hand against a desk (or perhaps something less, like drumming my finger against a book), but you get my drift. It was obvious this neophyte was spic-and-span new to politics, even though he’d already been a senator from Illinois for a term. It appeared he hadn’t learned a heck of a lot during that term — and it showed. I know. It’s a whole different ball game when you get to the Executive Branch, and it would have been a tough row to hoe even if he’d been an old pro. But I and others didn’t expect the extremely high points (in the 70’s) this golden-throat orator brought into office with him would wind up having an acceptance rating from the public bordering in the high 30s only a couple of months before he was to reach his two-year mark.

Oh, yeah. There were (are) those setbacks that put him there: Afghanistan shows no progress whatsoever; joblessness is still bordering on 10 percent; our national debt is over $14 trillion — that’s with a “t”; and China is doing so well we fear they may pull out their wallets and buy the United States of America any minute now.

But wait!

What has happened to Barack Obama within the last few months? It seems there has been a turnaround in the very essence of the man.

Have you noticed too?

True, there was this setback in November where, after having been of a Democratic bent for the first two years of his presidency, the House of Representatives all of a sudden became a Republican majority. Everyone could see it coming, the president included. But it was a kick in the you-knowwhat for Mr. Obama and, well, maybe it set him to thinking that this Presidency thing might not last as long as he’d hoped.

It seemed he snapped out of a lethargy that had sent him falling in the wrong direction. He seemed to straighten himself out…cleared his throat as November and December brought him to the end of the first half term — just like a football game that hadn’t been going so well. All of a sudden he started to think clearly about things that mattered to the country — and not just himself, as he promised during his campaign. He promised to work closer than ever with the House members and make this a truly bipartisan government (yeah, yeah, yeah) and the rhetoric began to fly all over the place.

Just before the new Congress was sworn in, he quickly signed a bunch of bills that had been building up on his desk. Important bills. Bills that he had pushed aside for awhile because he didn’t think they were of particular consequence at the time. He eventually changed a few staffers; got close to the new Speaker of the House and left a few sincere impressions that he was going to really “take over” again and work with the opposition.

Unfortunately, the rampage in Tucson a couple of weeks ago, during which six people were killed and 13 injured by a madman, brought the President to that area to give a speech that was so touching, tears were in almost everyone’s eyes. It was beautiful, and, although the circumstances were negative, it left people with a relatively positive feeling. Those adverse circumstances may have brought him back to his old self.

And the percentage points of his acceptance by the public rose more than considerably. Whereas there were those who, for awhile, thought he might be a one-term president, minds were quickly changed — at least for the time being.

It’s too early to judge, of course, but he sure did sound good (again) in Tuesday’s State of the Union message...

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