For a guy I give an edge to over his Republican opponent in the November election, President Obama has managed to weaken himself in the last few weeks when he should have been able to do the opposite.
President Obama has announced his inability to help lower gasoline prices, had a defining moment with the Russian president where he stated his compliance was only on pause until he could deceive American voters one last time, and his signature legislative achievement, (the passing of which was never flattering in the first place) Obamacare, seems to be unconstitutional at its core. His budget, submitted as his blueprint for how to operate the government his way, received zero votes in the House and will probably not be voted on in the Senate.
The only thing Obama did with certainty was to quickly personalize his view of the horrible death of a Florida teenager. He sent a signal suggesting that it could have been his son. Mature, deliberate leadership in this matter could have played a unifying role. His leadership was reactive and personal, not solemn or poised. He helped open the door for others to radicalize and polarize the tragedy and has said nothing since then.
Even the gracious retiring senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, who the president's supporters said was quitting because of Republican intransigence, revealed quite the opposite. She had to set the record straight, saying the president was much of the problem with partisanship in Washington.
Meanwhile, all the usual issues get worse. Home prices fall, the debt grows, unemployment is stuck, growth is stagnant. And Obama's Environmental Protection Agency hurries to pass regulations that could never pass as law in the elected Congress.
March has been a revealing month for the president. What was once cool and distant now seems cool and calculating with a dose of deception thrown in.
All this happens as the Republicans seem to be getting their act together. Mitt Romney emerges, the GOP House passes a real budget and the GOP Senate leaders force a debate about gasoline prices where the voters are tuned in. Politics in America hasn't turned a corner, but what should be an easy time for Obama has turned out to be a struggle.