“President Barack Obama is getting hammered on all sides for a stumbling U.S. economy and his uneven response to it, raising pressure on him to take steps to create jobs or risk being ousted in next year’s election…

“He received negative reviews from pundits for a speech on Monday that offered no new policy ideas and failed to cushion a steep sell-off on Wall Street…

“David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said a host of problems is playing on Americans’ minds, from weak job growth, and slumping markets to the recent deaths of 30 American troops in Afghanistan, a war that is increasingly unpopular.

“‘There’s that feeling, that things are out of control, that we’re not on top of this anymore,’ Yepson said.”

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“Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist in North Carolina, a swing state Mr Obama is likely to struggle to retain in 2012, said: ‘Democrats are worried. He looks weak, he doesn’t say anything that grabs you, and people are looking for some kind of magic.’

“He said some activists were asking ‘do we need someone tougher to fight the tea party?’ ‘You see a yearning for a Bill Clinton-type approach and Hillary would reflect that. Obama is just a different political animal, he is a low-key guy,’ he added.”

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“All that remains of the great hopes Americans and the world had pinned on Obama, inspired by his stirring campaign speeches about change and renewal, is a battlefield of unsatisfactory and contradictory compromises. Obama, who just turned 50 and was once a symbol of youthful change, suddenly seems old and worn out, as gray as his hair has become…

“The clash with the Tea Party has highlighted Obama’s shortcomings. His opponents have everything he seems to lack. They are loud, confident and uncompromising, sticking to their principles while he repeatedly hesitates and delays. In the US midterm elections, dozens of Tea Party candidates managed to get elected to Congress by capitalizing on the rage of people who Obama had failed to connect with…

“It is now clear that Obama is simply not the man to help conflicting parties out of entrenched positions or give new impetus to an alliance. He instinctively leans toward measured, often delayed reactions, leaving his promises of change to fall by the wayside.”

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“‘We just wish he’d be more of a fighter,’ said one influential Democrat with a grimace. Another agreed: ‘You can’t blame him for everything. I just wish he would come across more forceful at times, but that is not the dude’s style. Detached hurts you when things are sour. You need some of Clinton’s ‘I feel your pain’ compassion.’…

“Obama’s response on Monday to Friday’s Standard & Poor’s downgrade and to the 22 Navy Seal commandos and 8 other soldiers killed by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan was once more too little, too late. It was just like his belated, ineffectual response on the BP oil spill and his reaction to the would-be Christmas Day bomber; it took him three days on vacation in Hawaii to speak about the terrorist incident when the country was scared about national security, and then he spent the next week callously shuttling from the podium to the golf course…

“His withholding and reactive nature has made him seem strangely irrelevant in Washington, trapped by his own temperament. He doesn’t lead, and he doesn’t understand why we don’t feel led.”

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Via Ben Howe.

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