White House insiders say President Barack Obama is in “a funk” about what he sees as increasing stagnation and failures surrounding his second term and some worry that the President is becoming more distant and distracted.
“He’s not the same Obama that came to the Oval Office after the 2008 elections,” a senior White House aided confided to friends in an email recently. “I’m worried.”
“Rahm is obviously worried,” a former White House aide tells Capitol Hill Blue.
Political advisers say the charismatic candidate who captured the attention of voters in 2008 is gone and the man who now occupies the White House is “a shell who lacks charisma and cannot focus on details or message.”
“We have to face the fact that it has been a long, long time since Barack Obama delivered a speech that captured the hearts and minds,” says Democratic strategist Andy Waring. “The magic is missing and the Obama that mesmerized the nation has left the building.”
With his signature health care “reform” lagging, facing delays and increasingly raising concern, Democrats worry that Obama’s problems could have a ripple effect in next-year’s midterm elections and prospects for retaining control of the White House in 2016.
Many point to former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton as the party’s best prospect for Presidency but also she also concerns Democrats who see her tenure in the Obama cabinet as a political drawback.
“It is interesting, don’t you think, that the best Democratic hope for the White House in 2016 is a candidate who lost to the current, beleaguered President in primaries in 2008,” says political adviser Sally Angle.
Political setbacks ans scandals have taken their toll on Obama’s approval ratings and questionable actions like those in the recent scandal on spying of Americans by the National Security Agency in a program both approved and promoted by the President has deepened public anger and skepticism.
Some say the President once viewed as a “viable and preferred” alternative to the unpopular and despised George W. Bush may end his two terms in office just as unpopular and distrusted as the man he replaced.
“In politics it is not unusual for the candidate to be different once he or she is elected to office,” says political scientist Jackson Hathaway, “but Barack Obama turned out to be more than different. The candidate and President were not only different people, they turned out to be diametrically opposed to each other.”
The problem, Hathaway says, is that Obama the candidate ran as a someone strongly opposed to Bush and Obama the President “turned out to be more like Bush than anyone ever suspected.”
Privately, many Democrats agree and some say that the National Security Agency spying scandal proved that the man who ran for office as an alternative to George W. Bush turned out to be “more Bush than Bush.”