Barack Obama, The President Who Lost His Voice
The presidency has changed Barack Obama. His hair has gone gray, which is to be expected, and he looks older, which is also to be expected, but his eloquence has been replaced by petulance and he has lost the power to persuade, which is something of a surprise. You can speculate that if the Barack Obama of today and not Winston Churchill had led Britain in World War II, the Old Vic Theatre Company would now be doing "Hamlet" in German.
The president has lost his voice, that is certain. The numbers say so. Obama has the approval of only 44 percent of the American people. During his time in office, Congress and much of the nation has gone Republican -- statehouse after statehouse, governor after governor (soon to be 32) -- an astounding feat when you consider that the GOP has become the Know-Nothing Party in all its meanings.
It's not that Obama has lost his gift of eloquence. His problem is that he often has nothing to say. When he does, as after the mass murder in June at a Charleston church, he can be moving and eloquent. It is on foreign policy particularly where he goes empty and cold. His policy, after all, is to avoid yet another Middle East quagmire. It entails the ringing call to do as little as possible.