To Deakin’s list of relations-with-the-press critiques that a president inevitably faces we can add these either-ors that Obama will have to endure from the press: Is he moving too fast on the economy or too slow? Is he too deferential to Congress or too pushy? Is he coddling Iran or baiting it? Why isn’t he making good on his Iraq pledge–why is he throwing the Iraq victory away? Why is he repeating Bill Clinton’s mistakes? Why can’t he govern from the center like Bill Clinton? Isn’t it time he made good on his domestic campaign promises? What makes him think the current economy can take the shock of universal health care? He’s as secrecy-obsessed as George W. Bush! He’s more combative with Congress than Bush was! You call that a liberal appointment to the Supreme Court?!
Obama will abandon the habit of walking on water he picked up during the past two years because you can’t build a moat around the White House the way you can a presidential campaign. His administration may stay on message and never leak, but it won’t be the only circus in town. Few Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, federal bureaucrats, federal grantees, soldiers and sailors, or others drawing a salary from the U.S. Treasury get the love or respect from the president that they think they’re owed. They’ll leak because it will be in their interest to leak, and the press will feast. When they leak, he’ll do what every president has done. He’ll flip out.
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