Get Off the Stump

Michael Goodwin:

Poor Barack Obama. Ending his fifth year as the world’s most powerful man, he is running out of scapegoats and fairy tales. Blaming George W. Bush has lost its punch, and the ObamaCare debacle is shredding the myths he is competent and honest.

Still, before he rides off into that sunset of self-pity and low poll ratings, he ought to invite his remaining friends over for a heart-to-heart. That way he can tell The New York Times that its fanatical support does him no favors.

Instead, it feeds his arrogance and reinforces his belief that he can solve any problem with another speech. The unflattering truth doesn’t stand a chance — ­until it is too late.

Bill Clinton -- and I understand this is not a deep realization -- always struck me as a man of big appetites and lots of ideas. The kind of guy who can be, shall we say, easily distracted. But during the 1992 campaign, he was focused "like a laser beam" on the economy, thanks in part to a sign put up at campaign HQ. Famously it read, "It's the economy, stupid." And most everything he did that year came from those four simple words, which I believe came from James Carville.

If I were to put up a sign in the Oval Office, a little Carville-esque something to help Professor Wiggleroom keep his focus, it would read, "Campaigning is not governing."

Four simple words, honestly and helpfully meant.

I just don't know if he'd take them to heart.