Jonah Goldberg

The president has tried to be his own surrogate, personally going on the attack against Romney. But all that does is remind voters that Obama doesn't want to talk about his own record -- and further diminishes his tattered bipartisan brand.

That's probably one reason they tried out David Axelrod as an anti-Romney hatchet man in Boston the other week. But you know your audition as Obama pitch man hasn't gone well when 90 percent of the media coverage boils down to either stories about how you were booed by Romney supporters, or stories about how everyone's asking, "What meth-head thought Axelrod would be a good surrogate?"

And where are the president's Cabinet secretaries? Todd S. Purdum, in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, writes about how Obama's Cabinet -- which was sold as a "team of rivals" -- has turned into a "team of mascots."

Still, the great thing about mascots -- at least the human variety -- is that when they're told to dance, they dance. The problem for Obama is that his Cabinet secretaries are the human manifestations of his record, and Obama's record isn't particularly popular. Put Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on TV and you run the risk of someone asking him about the exploding national debt. Put Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on a stage and someone might ask about her trampling of religious liberty, or be reminded of that whole "ObamaCare" thing the president doesn't want to talk about.

That leaves Bill Clinton -- and a lot more "Clinton out" moments to come.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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