President Barack Obama is more exasperated than ever as polls dip, critics multiply, and none of his massive borrowing seems to jump start a stalled economy. He seems bewildered that House Republicans did not immediately agree to his tax increases proposals, and confused over why his serial calls for civility are noted—but quickly forgotten. Obama is also perplexed that businesses—in theory flush with cash after massive layoffs and budget trimming—do not listen when he presses them to start hiring. He cannot quite fathom why his conservative critics do not fully appreciate his achievement of eliminating Osama bin Laden. And the more he now talks about illegal immigration, the wackier fly his metaphors and the more edgy the slurs. What happened to the legendary Obama, the "god" whom Newsweek deified in 2008, and who was declared the "smartest" president ever by historian Michael Beschloss?
In a word, the president is discovering that Barack Obama is now at war with Barack Obama. It is not just that the public has fathomed that what Obama says one day will change the next. It is more troublesome than that: Americans are catching on that what Obama now insists is true usually proves at odds with what Obama once asserted. So the nation is insidiously tuning him out—a novel and annoying experience for the president, who heretofore had received little criticism over his habitual inconsistencies and had assumed his formidable powers of rhetoric and his own landmark heritage would trump any scrutiny from nit-picky critics.