Is success possible for a president?
Being president ain’t what it used to be.
Over the last decade, the splintering of the media has combined with the rise of social networking (and microblogging), a sustained pessimism in the electorate and record levels of partisanship to make success a virtually unachievable goal for any president.
As we wrote in our Monday Fix newspaper column:
“The last week in politics is illustrative of the massive communications challenges a president faces. The week began for President Obama with news from the West Coast that his Commerce secretary, John Bryson, had been involved in a series of car accidents reportedly due to a medical condition.
Elections in Egypt and Greece as well as increased violence in Syria drew worldwide attention. Then came Obama’s economy speech on Thursday and his administration’s shift in deportation policy for young illegal immigrants on Friday. And then there was the showdown with the Daily Caller’s Neil Munro in the Rose Garden.
News is being made — and covered — literally every minute of the day across the world and, as president, Obama is forced to read and react to virtually all of it. (One advantage for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the presidential election: As a challenger candidate, he can pick and choose where he sounds off.)
Layer over the constant stream of news with the fact that Twitter, blogs and cable television turn every slip of the tongue, misstatements or gaffe into a mountain — “the private sector is doing fine” being a prime, recent example — and it’s clear that the idea that the president can drive the hourly, daily or weekly message of his choosing feels outdated. The bully pulpit may still exist, but it’s far less bully than it once was.”
What’s a president to do? Most Democratic and Republican strategists we talked to said that Obama can’t do much until the November election — at which point voters will, theoretically, offer their judgment on their preferred way forward for the country.
Unless, of course, they don’t.
What do you think? Are there ways for President Obama or, for that matter, a President Romney to succeed — either politically or policy-wise or, perish the thought, both?
Offer your ideas in the comments section. We’ll sort through them and append the best ones to the bottom of this post.
Get to it!