The Accidental Tourist Becomes President

Obama's 'cool detachment' is wearing thin
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2010 1:41 PM CDT
President Obama during his town hall meeting at the White House Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – Barack Obama is the Macon Leary of politics, writes Michael Gerson. Leary is the buttoned-up central character in Anne Tyler's Accidental Tourist who lives a life of "structure and rationality." Obama's much-ballyhooed "cool detachment" may have been refreshing for a time, but Gerson thinks it—and the president's "monotone manner"—is wearing thin.

"Can a wartime president succeed without providing inspiration and expressing determination?" Gerson asks in the Washington Post. "Sometimes it is not sufficient to organize a disorganized country. It must be led." What's more, Obama's "limited rhetorical range raises questions about the content of his deepest beliefs. For this reason among others, the man who doesn't need the love of crowds is gradually losing it." (There's hope, though: Even Macon Leary loosened up by novel's end.)

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