Jonathan Chait has an insightful post at The New Republic addressing the GOP manipulation of “the cult of the presidency” to blame President Obama for failing to quickly fix the BP disaster in the Gulf. Chait faults the media for embracing the simplistic model of the President as “soul nourisher, a hope giver, a living American talisman against hurricanes, terrorism, economic downturns, and spiritual malaise” cited by the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy, as playing into the hands of conservative cheap shot artists. Chait concludes,
The intellectual task of liberalism is not to make government responsible for everything. It is to rationally determine which things cannot be handled by the private sector. No less than the dogmatic anti-statism of the right, the cult of the presidency is an enemy of that task.
Chait’s post brings into focus a useful perspective which can inform the response of progressives, as well as the white house.