President Obama's glittering campaign for the White House two years ago is a hard act to follow. He had a swell logo and monumental sets; all was very presidential indeed. The rigorous reality of the office since has taken its toll, yielding falling favorability numbers, shifting policies, mutating messages, lots of distractions. The recent hubbub over Mr. Obama's missing wedding ring and first lady Michelle Obama's reported dissatisfaction with her situation is glum proof that the press honeymoon is long, long gone. The new reality is not rocket science, however: The methodical, serious work of the White House must be tended with no guarantees of immediate gratification and giddy news coverage. Stay at home for a while, Mr. President. Get out the to-do list.
"It's clear that the well-oiled Obama campaign machine has not brought the same levels of efficiency and discipline we saw on the campaign trail to the White House. As I've observed before, the team that campaigned like Robocop has governed more like the Keystone Kops," Tevi Troy, a Hudson Institute scholar and former deputy health and human services secretary in the George W. Bush administration, tells Inside the Beltway.
"Governing and campaigning are different skills, and if the White House personnel office makes having worked for the campaign the key hiring criteria, it can't get the caliber of people the president needs into critical management positions," he adds.
"With chaos politics in play, the November outcome may set the stage for an Obama revival of sorts, with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party paving the way," counters liberal blogger Taylor Marsh. "But it's just as likely that the beneficiary might be Mitt Romney or another more mainstream conservative pol, because what goes around comes around, and in today's chaos politics, nothing lasts very long."