Obama considers himself a sophisticated and nuanced guy, so you wouldn’t think his descent into self-parody would be quite so unsubtle.
Anyone else out there for the explanation that a lack of storytelling, explaining, and inspirational speeches was the great sin of the Obama presidency? According to CBS’s Mark Knoller, in his first two years in office, the president clocked 902 speeches and statements and gave 265 interviews. Anybody who talks that much runs the risk of saying too much. Case in point, this gem from the president’s speech Friday in Roanoke: “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Inspiring!
To be fair, Obama didn’t invent the juvenile notion of the president as inspirer in chief. But he has served as its reductio ad absurdum, relentlessly stoking irrational public expectations for presidential salvation, raising hopes that no human institution could possibly fulfill.
Some political scientists attribute declining presidential popularity to the “expectations gap”—the vast distance between what the public expects of the president and what he can realistically deliver. No chief executive in modern memory has done more than the Yes We Can president to boost expectations and widen that gap. Obama seems oblivious to the fact that those irrational public expectations are a large part of his political problem.