With problems for the president in Afghanistan, health care and unemployment, some critics on both the left and right are asking: Is the president essentially "too nice" to make the important decisions?
The National Journal magazine asks in a just-out edition, "Is He Tough Enough?"
"Be decisive," says Tom Tradewell, the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Even liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd says the president will have to "break some eggs" to cook up a more perfect union.
None of the people quoted assert the problem is Obama's affability. Rather, the difficulty is the extreme caution he exercises, many times so as to not offend interest groups.
We know Obama has little reluctance in employing the us-versus-them class struggle rhetoric against private enterprise. He's accused surgeons of removing legs and tonsils for the money. (The American College of Surgeons pointed out his statement that a surgeon receives $50,000 for a leg amputation was a little off; Medicare pays between $740 and $1,140). Obama has no qualms sending his flunkies forth to attack Fox News. On Saturday, he personally claimed that health insurers are “filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads.”
Too nice? Not hardly. Indecisive? Definitely. Dithering? You bet. Waffling? Absolutely. Unqualified? The answer increasingly becomes apparent. While Obama repeatedly says he wants to make things clear, rarely does he provide specifics.
As he stumbles and vacillates and falters, we've seen the mainstream media supply an arsenal of excuses for Obama's failings. He inherited it all from Bush. He set too ambitious an agenda. Large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress aren't enough. He's so terribly brilliant and nuanced that it takes the American public quite a while to catch up with him.
And now an excuse is he's just too nice. That's as empty as Obama's promises, and will last about as long.