Some Americans believe that Obama is doing too much. Others shout that he’s doing too little.
I think Obama is doing his job. No more. No less. I will credit him, but I won’t praise him. A president should not be praised for being presidential, anymore than a fireman deserves adulation for putting out fires. That’s their job.
Our love affair with Obama is testament to how low our expectations have fallen under Bush and Clinton. A president who makes policy instead of abdicating to his vice-president? A commander-in-chief who runs the nation instead of running into bed with interns? Who would have believed such a thing is possible?
My favorite president is Harry Truman, who was thrust unprepared into the most powerful position on Earth. Was Truman a great president? Depends on your point of view. But he has fared well in history because he is perceived as a man who took his job seriously and did his best to execute it.
Obama is no Truman. I think Truman wanted to be a good president just to prove to the world that he was no dumb hick from Missouri. I think Obama wants to be a good president just to prove he’s smarter than everyone else. It doesn’ t matter. I don’t ask for humility from our presidents. I don’t even demand competence all the time, because no man is perfectly equipped to handle such a vast position.
But I do expect them to take their job seriously, and to do their best. I will accept their failures and stumbles as long as I believe that they are willing to learn from their mistakes. I believe Obama is willing. Until I see otherwise, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.