Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Columnist: Obama must regain trust

Obama has a bigger task than just giving a good speech tonight. He must regain the nation's trust, which he lost in a year of broken promises argues columnist Kathleen Parker.

From her latest column:
Everybody's ticked, if for different reasons. Tea-party activists are enraged by expanding government, higher taxes (even though many of those in the throng received tax cuts as part of the stimulus package) and health-care reform that, though comprehensive, managed to leave out tort reform. The left is angry because Obama wasn't tough enough to push through legislation despite Democratic majorities in both houses.

Even Obama, the usually imperturbable sphinx -- the man with the straight face and the light-switch smile -- is getting hot under the collar. He doesn't mind a good fight, he says. Perchance, to bring 'em on?

It is traditional for presidents to paint a rosier picture of circumstances than reality warrants, and Obama isn't likely to veer from that script. The hope-and-change agent can hardly wear a sad face as he appraises his first year. But neither can he portray himself as a slugger in chief.

Americans didn't elect a fighter; they elected a visionary who promised a new spirit of cohesion, cooperation and community. While some now may view their romance with hope as a one-night stand, voters are reliably fickle. They can be courted and persuaded, but first they have to trust.

Regaining trust is Obama's real challenge, and being true to his own character is fundamental to that end. Americans know a faux fighter when they see one. If Obama comes out swinging, he is likely to lose.
Read the full column here.

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