A president elected on the combined strength of dazzling oratory and improbable personal biography has proved more deft at saving his political career in times of great crisis, than crafting a bold vision of American democracy in the 21st century.
Last night's jobs speech by President Obama was the kind of political moment he needed. But I also fear it was also a gigantic bit of Kabuki theater -- a bold, promising vision destined to achieve very little.
If Sarah Palin could, as a third-party candidate in the 2012 election, draw anywhere close to Ross Perot's result in the 1992 presidential election, in which he obtained 18.9 percent of the popular vote, her reputation would remain solid.
Obama will have the resources to defend in the face of a Republican primary campaign which, as things look now, will likely devolve into a contest to see who can portray President Obama in the worst light.
Rick Perry, presumably, is spending Labor Day weekend in intense debate prep. He ought to. Debating requires a specific skill set, one that this otherwise savvy politician has so far failed to develop.
Are they owned by the oil companies, or are they willing to break from some of the GOP's largest campaign donors? Do they agree with 98 percent of scientists, or are facts mere inconveniences to be pushed aside for ideology and ambition?
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann would certainly be weaker candidates than Mitt Romney, but given the context in which the election will occur, it is not at all clear that Democrats should hope for the slightly less electable nominee.
Rick Perry could be an effective leader. He is able to cause people to rally behind him. But it is incumbent on the president of the United States to make decisions based on evidence. Sticking to a personal ideology when it is contradicted by evidence is a dangerous.