"If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition," President Obama said shortly after taking office on February 2, 2009. He was then referring to the economic recovery but, over three years later, the president's words seem prescient.
Consider what Obama told Rolling Stone in an hour long interview that was just released this morning. "The fact of the matter is that times are still tough for too many people, and the recovery is still not as robust as we'd like, and that's what will make it a close election."
The weakness of the economic recovery, Obama admits, will make his November reelection effort close. But it's not his own fault, according to the president. "There's understandable skepticism, because things are still tough out there. You still have an unemployment rate that's way too high, you have folks whose homes are underwater because the housing bubble burst, people are still feeling the pinch from high gas prices," the president said. And it isn't that Republicans are providing a better alternative: "It's not because the other side has a particularly persuasive theory in terms of how they're going to move this country forward."
In the same interview, President Obama praised liberal pundit Jon Stewart (as well as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and blogger Andrew Sullivan), and indicated in other ways that he's out of touch with the American people.
"I haven't had a chance to see a lot of movies lately. I think the last movie I saw was The Descendants, which was fun, because it was going home," Obama told Rolling Stone. "I saw Clooney the other day, and I joked to him that those were all my old haunting grounds. It actually captured that part of Hawaii that's not just rainbows and sunsets."
Perhaps if Obama weren't hanging out with actor George Clooney, and was more in touch with the American people, he'd have a clearer idea of how to enact policies more in line with what people want. (Though it looks like he's going to be hanging out with Clooney again pretty soon.)