The American People Want Results

They don't call the White House the bully pulpit for nothing and every president has the biggest megaphone in town, indeed the biggest in the land. The temptation to use and use it again is powerful. But every president runs the risk that the public sooner or later stops listening. This is especially true when what the president says does not match what the public sees.

President Obama is telling voters this campaign season that his economic policies are working, that millions of jobs have been created and that his party deserves support on Election Day. The problem is that the jobless rate has gone up, not down since his massive stimulus spending was enacted, and the economic recovery now appears stalled.

What matters most to the standing of every president is results. Thus Lyndon Johnson could make speech after speech to defend the Vietnam War, but when victory did not come, his political standing collapsed.

Two years into his presidency, with the public disaffected with his liberalism, Bill Clinton could crisscross the nation railing against the Republican agenda, calling it the Contract on America. His party lost both houses of Congress.

Three years later, born again as a moderate and re-elected, Clinton survived impeachment in a sex scandal. How? Simple, the economy was roaring, there was no war on and the public overlooked everything but those results.

Clinton has even been brought back to help his party this fall. But he can't bring that economy with him.