What happened to Obama's awesome charisma?
Maybe he never really had any. Maybe his legions of disciples were simply awed that a black man could be so ... well, like them, that it was their own reflections -- reflections of their own awesomeness, their self-righteous, universalistic, 21st-centuriness -- that mesmerized them. That and some well crafted speeches and an appealing delivery before a teleprompter. But the man himself is a zero when it comes to personality, and his limited level of achievement in his pre-Axelrod life should have been a signal that maybe he's not all that.
At any rate, he was supposed to hit the hustings and take the Health Care cause directly to the American people and bypass all that news reporting slanted against him and rouse the troops. Yawn. Seems like a ragtag collection of malcontents with trucker hats make more compelling viewing than Barry's lame pontificating.
Then there's this video:
Seriously, I suspect Obama is rather like George W. Bush: a psychologically fragile personality who needs a lot of downtime. Bush managed to baby himself through eight years without publicly falling off the wagon, and Obama seems to be trying to pace himself as well. Both put plenty of time into working out, with Obama seemingly even more devoted to golf, a very time-consuming game.
Obama understands himself reasonably well, so he has rules -- e.g., no drama queens among his staffers -- to avoid using up too much of his energy and upsetting his emotional balance. So, expect Obama to up his game somewhat after Labor Day.
Still, Democrats need to worry that Obama could go into a down cycle like the year-long one he apparently suffered after his rejection by black voters as not black enough in a 2000 primary.
Even if he avoids that, Obama is not a gonzo hypomanic like Bill Clinton, who was just on the go all the time. He's sensitive and self-absorbed. Plus, unlike Bush, he's a night person, who is at his sharpest late in the evening. Clinton was a night person, but he didn't need much sleep.
When you are President, you can make your staff follow your schedule (until you burn them out), but you can't do public events in the wee hours of the morning. If you are going to give a big speech at the National Convention of Whatevers, they'll want you to give it some time between 9am and 9pm.
Another problem with being a night person is insomnia (which is common among people who get more energetic as the day goes on), which doesn't fit well with living a Big Life with a Big Schedule. That's basically what killed Michael Jackson: insomnia combined with a demanding schedule of large-scale rehearsals (plus having your own private Dr. Feelgood to shoot you up with an ever-escalating series of sleeping drugs).