As a candidate for the presidency, Barack Obama came across as calm, intelligent, philosophical and thoughtful. Nothing seemed to ruffle him. At the presidential debates, his face never betrayed the common deer-in-the-headlights expression that so many candidates succumb to. He was cool, he was collected, his talking points and his rebuttals were articulate and well thought out. He spoke of bipartisanship. He gave us hope that he could quash gridlock. He never allowed himself to get angry; he showed little emotion.
But the campaign is long over. The advice Obama received from his campaign advisors is clearly not working today. To be sure, calmness in the face of crisis, thoughtful intelligence and eloquence are all desirable attributes in a president, but Obama desperately needs someone to light a fire under him.
Sure, it's easy to play the blame game, but Obama is obviously still getting campaign advice when what he desperately needs is presidential advice.
He's not getting it from David Axelrod. Axelrod needs to go.
And Obama needs to get ruffled. And he needs to drop the word "bipartisanship" from his vocabulary.
After the 1994 debacle, President Clinton had the insight to realize that he needed to be re-packaged. As much as most of us might dislike Dick Morris, he managed to turn things around for Clinton.
If Obama doesn't follow Clinton's lead, he may be in serious trouble in 2012.
As for Gibbs, Obama needs to replace him with someone forceful, dynamic and perhaps a trifle quick-tempered. Gibbs is soft. He stammers. He fudges. And his most common expression seems to be fear. He resembles John Hodgeman, the actor who represents PCs in the Apple commercials.
The president's press secretary is the person who must clearly articulate his boss's agenda to the press. He (or she) must do so with an economy of words. His (or her) tone and demeanor must reflect the president's attitudes and state of mind. Reporters must come away from press conferences with a clear understanding of not only the president's concerns and agenda, but his disposition. This is not happening.
Gibbs has to go too.
Photo courtesy of muckety.com