With the threat of a double-dip recession and the reality of a downgrade, the president of the United States is not acting like the leader of the free world, writes Dana Milbank in the Washington Post. Yesterday's bland speech deflected blame and reiterated his usual calls for more unemployment benefits and infrastructure spending—and the markets ignored him. "The most powerful man in the world seems strangely powerless, and irresolute, as larger forces bring down the country and his presidency," Milbank writes.
Despite the mounting problems and a 43% approval rating, Obama coolly glides along (he attended two DNC fundraisers last night, notes Milbank), promising answers ... "over the coming weeks" when "Congress gets back." When reporters pressed Jay Carney, post-speech, about the president's plans, the press secretary responded that Obama “will be contributing to that process, not driving it or directing it"—which Milbank and other reporters found mystifying. “He’s the leader of the free world. Why isn’t he leading this process?” asked Politico's Glenn Thrush. Concludes Milbank, "That is the enduring mystery of Obama’s presidency."