The Washington Post

President Obama wants to inspire, not improve.

The president thinks that if people were just more inspired by him, they would feel better about 8.2 percent unemployment, stagnant economic growth, high gas prices, uncertainty over taxes, ad hoc White House fiats promoting pet issues, criminal leaks of national security information, the Obamacare tax and frightening developments around the world as America retracts.

That's correct: The president thinks he has done the right things in governing, but that he has not told a sufficiently inspirational, unifying and optimistic "story." The man who has written two books about himself thinks his administration has talked too little about his own golden motives and his benevolence toward all.  

The president actually said to Charlie Rose on CBS, "The mistake of my first term — couple of years — was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right." That he needed to do more "explaining, but also inspiring." 

I guess you can't blame the president; since he has had little meaningful policy success, it must be obvious that he should have tried something else.

By supplying more "inspiration," I assume he means that he thinks he should have spent more time posing in grand settings, dousing us with soaring speeches and telling Americans to appreciate all that has been done for them over the last 3 1/2 years. Is the president suggesting we are on the right track but voters don't have the right attitude? It sounds like it to me.

Again, condescending gall and a self-centered lack of insight plagues this president.

Politically, it makes independents and other voters bewildered about his plan for a second term.  Will Obama II be about solving problems or having to be force-fed White House manufactured inspiration as the president auditions for Mount Rushmore?

The Charlie Rose interview makes it clear that the president feels underappreciated. I doubt he will get much sympathy on the campaign trail.

There couldn't be a more vivid contrast in November than between Mitt Romney, the happy, accomplished problem solver, and Obama, who says America doesn't need solutions so much as America needs to hear more grand stories from him. Let's have an election about that.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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