Obama's "Failed" Presidency

Eighteen months into his first term, pundits and partisans are engaged in a shallow debate over how the president will be judged. They’re missing the point.

Call it the herd instinct, the echo chamber, a pack mentality, whatever -- there’s no denying that today’s 24/7 news cycle presents a big challenge for introducing intelligent political analysis and commentary into the public debate. We journalists and pundits spend way too much time reading and talking to each other, chasing the so-called narrative and trying to pick winners and losers in the Washington arena.

There’s a lot of that going on now, centered on how President Obama has pushed through Congress three landmark pieces of legislation -- an economic stimulus package, health care reform and an overhaul of financial regulation -- plus scores of other policy changes, yet is regarded by many as teetering on the edge of failure. The Washington Post and The New York Times went so far this past weekend as to ask dozens of so-called experts what the president can do to pull himself out of the ashes.

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Mark Willen
Senior Political Editor, The Kiplinger Letter