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The Political Curse of Raised Expectations

By Thomas Kochman - 06.22.2010

It’s not clear what is a president’s worse nightmare: failure or success.

Standard views of the last Bush administration are that it was a dismal failure. Hillary Clinton in one campaign speech called it “the worst administration in U.S. history”.

Under \”W\”, without hope for a better turn around,  people sucked it up, knowing that the end eventually would come. No coup was necessary. We’ve got rule of law –thank God for that–and another presidential election on the horizon with the hope if not for redemption than at least a chance to get even.

So we search for a savior, someone who can “turn things around.” And we find and elect Barack Obama. Hooray!

But as all presidents and politicians discover, the aura surrounding a savior dissipates quickly.

As Obama himself said at one of his early news conferences, it lasts about a day.

People not only want their collective hurt to be healed, they want it to happen right away.

The problem of course is that it’s easier to manage a political campaign than mobilize a country to support a difficult domestic and foreign agenda against a hostile right wing and divided and resistant Congress.

But is the public realistic and understanding of the time it takes to work the system?

Not really. Read more »