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The Depressed President of a Depressed Country

How far the "hope and change" optimism has fallen in slightly more than a year!

According to a new poll from Xavier University, pessimism about the future is pervading our culture: Only 23 percent said it will be easier for the next generation to achieve the American Dream, while 68 percent said it will harder.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post's Fred Hiatt, no conservative by any stretch, is detecting a "happiness deficit" in our president:

Here's a theory about why President Obama is having a tough political time right now: He doesn't seem all that happy being president.

I know, it's the world's hardest job, and between war and the world economy collapsing, he didn't have the first year he might have wished for. And, yes, he's damned either way: With thousands of Americans risking their lives overseas and millions losing their jobs at home, we'd slam him if he acted carefree.

Still, I think Americans want a president who seems, despite everything, to relish the challenge. They don't want to have to feel grateful to him for taking on the burden.

Hiatt concludes:

A year later, here's how they [the Obamas] came across to People Magazine:

"It was their first interview of the New Year on Jan. 8 in the rose-colored library on the ground floor of the White House. President Obama spoke in such a hush about the loneliness of his decisions on war and terrorism that one could hear between his words the tick of an old lighthouse clock across the room."

Do Americans really want to hear the tick of the old lighthouse clock? Or would they prefer the good cheer that we associate with FDR or JFK, the jauntiness with which they took over the White House and made it theirs?

Less lugubriousness wouldn't necessarily buy him a health-care bill. But in the long run, Americans might find it easier to root for or with Obama if he'd show us, despite everything, that he's happy we hired him.

Well, this morning at least, it doesn't look as if there is going to be a health-care bill - one that passes anyway. The Dem Whip is opining that the vote could slip past Easter - a sure sign the bill is in trouble. Conventional wisdom had it that Obama postponed his Asian trip to get the thing passed before Easter, for fear that when the Members returned to their home districts for vacation they would get a negative earful from their constituents. Well... look what's going to happen. It's not a cure for depression.

ONE OTHER NOTE on Presidential Depression: What we may be watching is what happens when a man who has faced very little adversity in his life finally has to.