So much for changing how Washington works…

This election year, angry voters have made clear they have little patience for politics generally and Washington politics specifically. And they are choosing candidates who promise to change the system — and ousting incumbents who fail to deliver.

But what may be even more troubling for the president is the question the [Sestak] episode raises: Has Obama become just like every other politician?…

Obama has held himself to a different standard. By that measurement, and in this case, he failed to deliver.

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In a sense, it’s refreshing to have a president who is candid about shortcomings. Yet Obama’s news conference may have been the weakest hour of his presidency.

As I sat in the fourth row on Thursday, I was struck by the weirdly passive figure before me. He delivered lawyerly phrases and spoke of his anger about the oil spill but showed none in his voice or on his face. He was, presumably, there to show how aggressively he has handled the disaster, but he seemed cool, almost bloodless.

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Thursday, in the opening remarks of his press conference, the president said: “Every day I see this leak continue I am angry and frustrated.”

I wasn’t feeling it…

Mr. President, I know that you have a self-professed aversion to appearing angry, but in this case you have every right to be angry and to openly empathize with the anger of others. Otherwise, by running from one label, you risk earning another — incompetent. You feel me?

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As for many great “thinkers,” for Barack Obama and his coterie words seem to exist mostly in the realm of metaphor rather than as descriptors of actual action actually occurring in anything so humdrum as reality. And so it is that, even as his bungling administration flounders in the turbulent waters of the Gulf, on the speaker’s podium the president still confidently sails forth deftly steering the ship through the narrow ribbon of sludge between the Scylla of sonorous banality and the Charybdis of gaseous uplift.

Two years ago this week, then-Senator Obama declared that his very nomination as Democratic-party presidential candidate (never mind his election, or inauguration) marked the moment when “our planet began to heal” and “the rise of the oceans began to slow.” “Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute,” remarked Charles Krauthammer the other day, “you mustn’t be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides.”

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Is the president as serious as you once thought? “There are legitimate questions as to whether he’s out of his depth or not,” McCain says.