The presidency has become one emergency after another. How should Obama handle it?

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Nov. 29 2010 7:29 PM

Attention Deficit

WikiLeaks. North Korea. The TSA backlash. The presidency has become one emergency after another. How should Obama handle it?

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It is surprising that the president didn't rush into the TSA situation if only because in the wake of the 2010 election, the demands that the president pay more attention have increased. The conventional wisdom has emerged that the president has not sufficiently connected with voters in his first term. That process (if it is even possible) takes a lot of time, and yet Obama is raising expectations that despite all obligations he can add more. In his post-election self-diagnosis, he has embraced the conventional wisdom and promised to get out into the country more in order to speak to voters.

When is he going to find the time? There is always going to be another WikiLeaks emergency. There is always going to be a misbehaving North Korea or a bomb plot that we never hear about but that occupies the president's time. The expectations for presidential action must be reconfigured. The president may still have to pretend that he can do everything, but in truth he has to make wise choices in a frantic world, because the president never gets to Inbox Zero.