Spirit of a President: Obama at Seven

Much has been written on President Obama's dispirited performance in his anti-terror speech to the nation last week.

Our president has done some exceptional legacy-building work, and, well, let's face it, he looks like a giant compared to some next-up candidates. Still, I think that he's never really been suited, psychologically or emotionally, for the presidency. In The Beginning, he responded ineffectually, perhaps even destructively, to the dead-on take-him-down-who-cares-if-he's-our-president attacks from Republicans that started before he was in office. He tried to use his old well-proven tactics of charm and compromise to sway the Right. A miscalculation if ever there were one. The Right was on its knees when Obama took office and his reluctance to engage gravely empowered them. (Remember, just one little thing, he named a virulently anti-gay pastor as one of the major 'presenters' at his Inauguration.)

Barack Obama, for all his intelligence and skill, clearly hates 'politics' and has never formed an alliance with his own clan of Democrats. He seemingly cannot wait to be out of office. He has cool in his developed genes -- but not the rough and tough flexibility needed in these times.

Obama has relied on the tactics of any spectacularly successful scholarship student -- assuming recognition of his brilliance (and charm) would be enough. It wasn't, and isn't. He early on virtually abandoned his stunning speech-making skills. He had reached the top of the top and thought that there was no more to "win" -- the competition was over. Earlier this year, he seemed to awaken and realize there was one more (albeit elusive) goal -- legacy. Then things got tough, very tough, a different kind of tough. Almost too tough for all of us.

The president swims towards compromise at any bend. But now there is no room for compromise. He would appear now to need us as much as we need him. He is our leader in a chilling time. His entire presidency has been filled with icy terrifying challenges. Daunting to any president, even one with the potential of greatness. And we haven't seen greatness in a long time.

When it fits his 'image' of who he should be as president (not necessarily who we need him to be), Barack Obama can be brilliant. And he seems clearly a good man, a decent and thoughtful man. But, Here Now he is beyond his depth.

How many would not be?