Just watched President Barack Obama’s news conference and left the TV so I would not hear the pundits sum it up. That way I can give my own personal reaction without fear that I was influenced by the pack.
I have watched presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to the vapid George W. Bush, and I can say that this one, Mr. Obama, handles himself better in public in this type of formal situation than any of his predecessors. (Don’t care so much for the informal, such as on Jay Leno, but that is more because of my bias against presidents as entertainers).
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a slicked tongue politician, but I don’t think so. His answers are complete and seem to be instructive and he seems to not depend upon platitudes (not so much anyway) or just the usual political rhetoric.
As far as his personal performance on the job, I think he is doing fine in the face of probably the biggest challenge any president has ever faced, the real possibility that not only our own but the world’s economy could almost immediately collapse. I think what we face now and have been facing for the past several months, beginning in the waning months of the Bush administration, is a crisis in many respects much deeper than the Great Depression, although our social programs – unemployment, Social Security, for example – have softened things somewhat so far.
I do not approve of the way Mr. Obama and his administration have handled the banking and AIG crisis, but populist pressure is checking that mess, along with a new force that is a band of moderate to conservative Democrats in Congress. So where Mr. Obama might go too far, he may be kept in check somewhat by his own party.
As for the Republicans, they are still in disarray and have not shown yet that they have any answer. They have not presented any comprehensive alternative program. It is to their political advantage to carp and complain and hope that Mr. Obama stumbles.
For his part, I believe, Mr. Obama needs to keep up his effort to enlist the support of the American people. But rather than demean himself by appearing on late night TV and running the risk of making gaffes as those situations seem to produce, I think he should give personal addresses to the people from the oval office and perhaps make more formal presidential appearances elsewhere around the nation.