In The ESPN Man, the New York Times’ David Brooks wonders why Barack Obama remains personally popular despite the horrendous economy.
The key is his post-boomer leadership style. Critics are always saying that Obama is too cool and detached, arrogant and aloof. But the secret to his popularity through hard times is that he is not melodramatic, sensitive, vulnerable and changeable. Instead, he is self-disciplined, traditional and a bit formal.
I think Brooks is behind the curve here and Obama is about to implode. The signs are everywhere, including the just released North Carolina poll showing Romney in the lead by eight percent in a state Obama won narrowly in 2008.
Other indications of incipient implosion that Brooks appears to have missed or ignored are the swing to Romney among women voters in the latest NYT/CBS poll and the overwhelming public sentiment that Obama’s new stance on same-sex marriage was politically motivated.
It is becoming okay not to like Barack Obama.
The Teflon cloak of being a cool, hip black guy, our first African-American president, is losing its power. That cloak of supposed post-racialism – not a “post-boomer leadership style,” whatever that may be – is what protected Obama. No one, not me, not David Brooks, wanted to be accused of racism. America desperately wanted to like Obama.
But they can’t. We can’t. And not just because the economy is brutal.
In hard times you get to see the individual up close, what he is made of. Roosevelt was one thing, Obama something completely different.
Can you imagine having a “fireside chat” with Barack Obama? Brrr…. The incumbent is a petulant, defensive narcissist, not someone with the humanity, humility or the experience to lead us out of dark days. Most people know this. More and more they are allowing themselves to admit it. Soon this may be a deluge.
The mainstream media will attempt to rescue Obama, just as Brooks is in his way, consciously or unconsciously, also trying to do. To some degree they will succeed. But I suspect not enough.
The American public can only be pushed so far. That may account for the greatness of our country, what is referred to as American exceptionalism. We may be fools, but we have our limits.
To be fair to Brooks, his column was published in the Times on May 14 – probably written a day or so earlier. In other words, ages ago. Evidence of the decline of Obama has been coming “fast and furious” of late (to borrow a term). Brooks and others of his ilk are slaves of the now-lethargic pace of dead-tree journalism. Stay tuned.