The Limits of Charisma

Howard Fineman has an extraordinarily perceptive analysis of President Obama’s heretofore triumph of style over substance — and pitfalls ahead, including the growing possibility of a one-term presidency.

As Fineman writes in the Oct. 5 issue of Newsweek, “If ubiquity were the measure of a presidency, Barack Obama would already be grinning at us from Mount Rushmore. But of course it is not. Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He’s a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked “done.” This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he’s not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.” To read the complete article, click here.

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