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September 17, 2013

Obama Abandons Style at His Peril

President Obama said last weekend that he was "less concerned about style points" than "getting the policy right," but Jill Lawrence says "it's a risky business to disregard style."

"From his Syria gyrations to Monday's ill-timed economic speech attacking Republicans as a mass shooting was in progress at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, Obama's apparently willful dismissal of style could do more than just hurt his poll numbers. It could yield midterm election losses and create perhaps insurmountable obstacles to achieving his policy goals."

Ruth Marcus: "Style, as the president would have it, matters. Adversaries and allies, foreign and domestic, take a measure of the president's steel. They judge whether he can be trusted, whether he will back down, whether he has what it takes to lead his country and the world. In the past few weeks, I have encountered not a single person outside the White House, Republican or Democrat, who has kind words for Obama's performance. Scornful may not be too strong a word for the consensus view, though it is scorn leavened, at least among the more thoughtful critics, with appreciation for the no-good-options reality of Syria."


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