Now, two years after the history-making night of Nov. 4, 2008, and on the heels of more partisan bickering than ever — much of it either condoned or encouraged by the president — the image of what Barack Obama meant to America in 2008 has been washed away by the realities of what President Obama has been as the leader of the free world since January 2009. It is very easy to inspire people for change — and prompt people to vote — without a presidential and congressional record to answer for.
The failure to lower unemployment and the scandalous backroom deals needed to pass Obamacare have had a negative impact on the Obama charm. They marginalize Obama’s media image in pop culture, transforming him from a catalyst for votes in 2008 to a reason to tune in to TV shows in 2010, something great for Nielsen ratings, but not enough to significantly alter poll numbers that indicate Democrats may lose both chambers of Congress.
By failing to live up to the campaign rhetoric and hopes that lifted candidate Obama to victory during the campaign of 2008 (with major disappointments coming from both his political left and right), President Obama may be learning that affability alone is not enough to turn the electoral tide. Great photo ops may suit the president as well today as they did in 2008, but they will not help his party maintain absolute power on Capitol Hill.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the host of the morning radio show Launching Chicago With Lenny McAllister on WVON, The Talk of Chicago 1690 AM. He will be on CNN Sunday Morning this weekend at 7 a.m. EST. He is the author of an upcoming edition of the book The Obama Era, Part I (2008-2010): Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative), due out in the fall. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.