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White House says it is always in touch

In an article by The Hill, Amie Parnes reports that Obama people “bristle” at those who say he is “out of touch”. He went on vacation for 15 days, and came back once. They say he reads his mail and is in touch. Being in touch isn’t the question. Is he deeply engaged in the great matters at hand? The profound scope and scale of the President at this juncture in history requires enormous bandwidth and dedication.

Reagan took vacations; some say he was out to pasture
Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images

One reason for much criticism is that Obama is engaged by name in incessant campaigning. It is as if he never stopped. When a President wins an election, it is time to devote full attention to the job at hand. By appearing to be involved in raising money all of the time in his name, he appears to be distracted and the actions are a turnoff.

Second, and perhaps most important, the President has his hands full and has always been short staffed. One reason for being short staffed has to do with the Senate not approving his nominations in a timely manner. Another reason is that his nominations are often overly political and appear to compromise candidate quality and competence.

Third, President Obama’s approach to the office is akin to being a professional organizer more than a hands on executive. His actions appear superficial and his solutions appear weak and incomplete. Historians may debate these things in the future, but for now, President Obama’s opportunity to redeem himself is by focussing on details and producing essential outcomes.

Strategic outcomes such as energy independence and a renewable energy transformation to fuel a sustainable economy appear out of reach. Out of reach isn’t the same thing as out of touch, of course.

The trouble is that one thing leads to another. For instance, addressing comprehensive Middle East foreign policy is related to transforming the American economy to renewable energy. Obama’s plan pushed that into the future 40 years. That is a big mistake as the time is now for dealing with that.

The time is now for dealing with immigration policy that is also linked to population size and demographic management that is one element of sustainable economics. There is no end to the work that needs to be accomplished all of which is an opportunity for a president to accomplish something.

“WH: Checked-out Obama is a media myth

By Amie Parnes - 08/26/14 06:00 AM EDT
The White House is bristling at suggestions President Obama is disconnected, checked out or out of touch.

White House allies maintain that the storyline of a checked-out president is a myth drummed up by the media during the summer doldrums.

“It’s bullshit,” said one former senior administration official. “This is a guy who reads 10 letters a day simply to keep in touch with the American people. He spends all his time thinking about the economy and improving lives of the American people. He’s constantly in touch.”

Obama has been criticized as out of touch by critics and supporters, with the subject discussed at length by the media.

The criticism has been underlined by Obama’s decision to repeatedly golf over his two-week vacation, including minutes after giving a statement to the media about the execution of journalist James Foley.

Some Democrats say the issue goes much farther than Obama’s love of the links, however.
They argue Obama isn’t doing enough to get his message out, to help Democrats on the campaign trail or to move his agenda. And they worry the depiction of Obama as checked out is one the White House needs to do a stronger job of battling.”

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