The good news is that he recognizes his mistakes and is going to try again. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told the Washington Post this week that "In 2010, the president will constantly be doing high-profile things to be the person driving the narrative."
The multiple trips to Copenhagen, the five-Sunday-shows-in-one-day marathon, the three joint session addresses to Congress in one year, the prime-time news conferences, the state dinner, the speech in Cairo: These don't add up to "constantly" doing "high-profile things"? I can't wait to hear what "high-profile" means. Explain health-care reform while parting the waters of the Potomac?
But even this explanation amounts to dodging blame. It's still code for "You stupid Americans, why can't you understand I'm right and you're wrong?"
That's certainly how Joe Klein, Obama's de facto press flack at Time magazine, sees things. In a piece titled "Too Dumb to Thrive," Klein argues that Americans are too stupid to understand how totally awesome the stimulus was. (Time's Peter Beinart makes a similar argument in a debate with me for Bloggingheads.tv.) What's funny about this is that if nearly two-thirds of Americans are idiots, that means roughly half of Obama's voters were idiots, too. His election was once the epitome of American wisdom. Now it seems he was elected despite the stupidity of his supporters.
Of course, the Obamaphiles switched to this argument only after months of pounding their spoons on their high chairs about the unfairness of Republican "obstructionism" in the Senate. The filibuster was once a bulwark against tyranny, according to Democrats trying to block George W. Bush's agenda. Now, it's proof that the American political system "sucks," according to Obama confidante and liberal super-wonk John Podesta, and evidence that America's system is arguably "worse" than totalitarian China's, according to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
And they switched to that argument only after insisting that Bush was responsible for every evil under the sun. (Now, the White House brags about using Bush's anti-terror policies and insists it deserves the credit for success in Iraq.)
Coming soon: A terrible flood! Locusts! Anything and everything to avoid admitting their problems are their own fault.