IN "The Audacity of Hope," Barack Obama described himself as "a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." This is a powerful tool in elections and explains why liberals, moderates, Democrats, Independents and Republicans joined together to give him 53 percent of the vote last November.
Since his election, this "blank screen" has been an asset, allowing the new president to maintain an illusion of progress, even as he has avoided the hard choices necessary for progress. But, as Americans ponder the unavoidable consequences of the president's policies -- particularly health-care reform -- the illusion is wearing thin.
The government has spent $3 trillion to prop up Wall Street and take over the big insurance and auto industries -- yet the middle class and small businesses continue to suffer. Fifteen million workers remain without jobs; 32 percent of Americans' homes are worth less than their mortgages -- and a whopping 61 percent of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck.
For these reasons, the American people have begun to judge President Obama on his record, not his rhetoric; on his policies, not his narrative -- and on his ability to govern, not on his campaign machine.
The cool and reasonable candidate who gave hope to his voters, who promised to rise above the ugly politics and big money of Washington, is turning out to be as conventional a politician as any other. Indeed, as he runs a permanent campaign from the White House, he is proving to be more committed to protecting the vested interests of his party than standing up for actual change. (Continue reading here at NY Post, By LYNN FORESTER DE ROTHSCHILD)