The past week has been rough on the President. After flying to Copenhagen, Denmark, to put in his bid for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the International Olympics Committee swiftly eliminated the city in the first round of voting. Then General Stanley McChrystal, in a frank speech in London, publicly lobbied for sending more troops to Afghanistan without any prior discussion with the President. And Congressional Democrats still haven’t come together around the President’s proposed public health insurance option.
Does the President have enough actual influence—or does he need to get aggressive to be taken more seriously?
Find out what real people have to say on this very important issue.
By Cynthia Gordy
“President Obama should be more aggressive and try to push harder for what he wants. Right now his influence isn’t doing much, especially for the international community outside of the United States. He needs to try to get everybody on the same page.”—Milton Douglas, 19
“It’s not that the President hasn’t been aggressive enough—he has, but he’s a polite man and maybe some people have taken advantage of that. I think that was the case with the general that gave a speech in London without keeping within the chain of command. But I don’t believe the President should be more aggressive because then people will start to complain that he’s too harsh and trying to prove something.”—Mwangala Mboo, 37
“I don’t think the President’s strategy has been aggressive enough. He made a lot of promises in his campaign speech, and he needs to start living up to some of them. Whether it means pushing more for health care reform or pulling out of Guantanamo, he just needs to put a plan together and do it, instead of just putting the idea out there and having the different parties come together for a solution.”—Torrence Smith, 39
“I think Obama could be a little more aggressive in pushing what he wants forward, but it’s touchy for him because there’s so much pressure on him. A lot of people are attacking him from different angles, calling him elitist or a dictator, so he’s walking a fine line trying to consider everybody’s needs.”—Robin Lawrence, 27
“He has too many things on his agenda, and should focus on one specific goal. He’s starting things and not finishing. He should start one thing, finish it, and show the people that he can actually follow through. A lot of people are starting to feel overwhelmed with so many issues going on right now.”—Richard Garcia, 32
“No, he hasn’t been nearly as influential as he should be. I think it’s because he is sort of new on the national scene, and I think he’s trying so hard for everybody to come together. But he could be more aggressive because sometimes you can’t get everybody to get along and have the same point of view.”—Victoria Moore, 44
“His influence works on a case-by-case basis. A lot of politicians in this country don’t want him to succeed, so they’re going to do anything to impede his progress, no matter what he says to the American people. On the other hand, he has gotten a lot of things passed and has done a great job with what he can do for right now. But until we change the culture of our country, they’re going to stop him from succeeding on a broader scale.”—Walker West, 35
“People are too harsh on him because they want him to be a god or something, and fix everything so quickly. Because everything’s not going as quickly as they have hoped, people are coming down on him.”—Elayna Speight, 20
“He needs to be definitive, and stand by what he says. You can’t waver and waffle just because the things you want to do don’t meet with public approval. He’ll never prove himself that way. I understand that there’s no handbook for this, but he’s got to remember that first and foremost he’s the leader of this country.”—Montrose Johnson, over 40