THE PLANK NOVEMBER 25, 2009
As its "Arena" question to pundits this morning, Politico has "Obama's Charisma: Where Did He Leave it?"
The implication seems to be--and I feel as though I've heard a variation on this question asked not infrequently of late--that Obama was such a dazzling, inspirational, transformational campaigner that it's hard to fathom where this wonky, chilly, pathologically measured grind of a president came from.
What? Are we all suffering from short-term memory loss? Especially early during the presidential primary, the big storyline on Obama was that he was a big ol' dud, boring audiences throughout Iowa and New Hampshire with his non-uplifting trail talk. As for the above-it-all, pointy headed, non-emotive streak, that has long been the rap on him.
Yes, Obama has the juice to thrill the globe with his from-the-pulpit-esque speeches. (Which he still delivers when occasion calls.) But it's not as though the guy has ever been known for his overwhelming warmth or charisma in the daily ebb and flow of things. He is as he has always presented himself to us.