Elizabeth Drew has a lengthy piece in the New York Review of Books about President Obama and health care. Drew reveals a large degree of disappointment on the left over Obama and his difficulty in "learning the differences between campaigning and governing," "his inexperience," and the fact that "Finding a voice that is explanatory rather than oratorical can be difficult for him." Of course, she criticizes the Republicans for not rolling over and accepting every on of Obama's ideas, but overall the piece is a pretty harsh assessment of the president. She softens a bit in the end, if you make it that far, and writes that Obama's joint-session and Labor Day speeches, as well as his appearance on five Sunday shows, may have turned the tide. Even at this point, though, she is critical of how hard aides had to work to get Obama motivated:
Chuck Todd of NBC reported that before he gave those speeches Obama's staff had had to get him "fired up" to take on his critics. Obama, whose high self-esteem is well known among close observers, had previously assumed that a "following," a "movement," would be there without his having to do much to stimulate it.
This raises a question: What exactly do White House staff have to do to fire up a "high self-esteem" president?