President Obama, yesterday, saying that after taking office he was too focused on getting results:
In that obsessive focus on policy, I neglected some things that matter a lot to people, and rightly so: maintaining a bipartisan tone in Washington; dealing with practices like earmarks that are wasteful at a time where everybody else is tightening their belts; making sure that the policy decisions that I made were fully debated with the American people and that I was getting out of Washington and spending more time shaping public opinion and being in a conversation with the American people about why I was making the choices I was making.
So I think, moving forward, I'm going to redouble my efforts to go back to some of those first principles. And the fact that we are out of crisis -- although still, obviously, in a difficult time -- I think will give me the capacity to do that.
As kos argued on Thursday in relation to the deficit commission, this kind of too-cute-by-half posturing doesn't make Obama seem reasonable, it makes him seem weak -- and provokes headlines like this:
Obama Blames Himself for Tone in Washington
Just 20 days after his inauguration, with Republicans trying to block his stimulus bill, President Obama refused to acknowledge that he had underestimated how hard it would be to change the way Washington works.
But as the president returned home on Sunday to face an even more rigidly divided capital city, Mr. Obama went even further: he blamed himself for the failure to do what he had repeatedly promised: to change the tone.
He said his own “obsessive” focus on implementing the right policies had led him to ignore a part of the reason voters handed him a mandate in 2008.
“I neglected some things that matter a lot to people, and rightly so: maintaining a bipartisan tone in Washington,” he told reporters in a brief question-and-answer session aboard Air Force One as he returned from a 10-day trip abroad. “I’m going to redouble my efforts to go back to some of those first principles,” he promised.
Instead of embracing political strategies that validate the criticism of his political opponents, President Obama should be touting his accomplishments and pushing to achieve even more. If he really believes that he's done the right things as president, he shouldn't be begging forgiveness -- especially not from people who will never give it to him.