Appearing Act

By STEVEN STARK  |  March 10, 2009

In contrast, Obama's promises and predictions all have a very short shelf life. As others have pointed out, his specific proposals run the unavoidable risk of being picked apart as the months go by. There will be pork in all the legislation. Much of the stimulus money will be misspent. There will inevitably be some abuse or corruption in how it's administered. All this will be left at Obama's doorstep.

In truth, we've never had a presidency this "personal." So, the administration is pretty much now at the mercy of fortune. If things improve soon, the president will claim the credit. If they don't, it's all his fault — even though he had nothing to do with creating this crisis and doesn't have all that much direct ability to solve it, either.

Yes, presidents can lift the nation's mood and galvanize its energy — Obama's extraordinary rhetorical skills fit well into that goal. But those are ultimately rather ethereal tasks. Either President Obama has a new view of history and the Constitution, or he's very brash. It's not clear that even Nostradamus would be quite so bold.

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