Lighten up, Mr. President

For a guy who spent several years and hundreds of millions of dollars single-mindedly running for the presidency, you don’t appear to take much pleasure in the job. You’ve described being president as “mopping the floor’’ and “cleaning up the mess.’’ You tell audiences how “confining’’ and “frustrating’’ it is, and how “nothing beats a day where I can make an escape, I break out.’’ You complain about how difficult your challenges are. “I’ll be honest with you,’’ you lamented to Time magazine in an interview about the Middle East. “This is just really hard.’’ At a California fundraiser in May, you moaned: “This has been the toughest year and a half since any year and a half since the 1930s.’’

Obviously the presidency is no walk in the park. Americans know that, just as they know you’ve had a lot on your plate: a gasping economy, Afghanistan, the oil spill, North Korea — not to mention an approval rating that keeps dropping. But Americans also know that every president faces tremendous trials. Look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Not only did he have the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler, and Pearl Harbor to deal with, he was paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. Yet he was legendary for his ebullient good humor. All the troubles in the world couldn’t deprive FDR of what his biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin called his “remarkable capacity to transmit this cheerful strength to others.’’