You may think that the president looks feckless hoisting a toast in Brazil as the United States participates in major action in a Middle East that is undergoing a crisis of historical proportions (talk about making history-this is it!). But I think this is the presidency he desired.

It strikes me that Barack Obama has become exactly the kind of president he wanted to be:

• He presides over a weakened United States that doesn’t dare act in the international arena without approval of the United Nations-yes, we still are paying for the lion’s share of the operation and our nonpareil military is still doing the heavy lifting. But we aren’t even first among equals in the decision-making process. It would be wrong for us to act alone.

• The government has gained control of our healthcare and that is far more than a beginning of a new kind of America.

The question is whether citizens realize the extent to which Obama has changed the United States and approve this new path. It is quite a departure from the old US of A. The president has pivoted to jobs frequently in his presidency, but the real thing he wanted he got: health care reform is more than a beginning of restructuring. I’m sure that the president thinks that jobs and such will follow.

The public may not be so tolerant-we tend to want a country that works, not a country that conforms to the ideals of the faculty lounge. This piece from the L.A. Times blog notes:  

With barely 19 months left until the next presidential election, fewer than 1 in 3 American voters approve of the Obama administration’s economic job.

Strange too because, even during the president’s relentless drive to pass his massive healthcare legislation, the Democrat said the economy and creating jobs was his top priority. So important is the economy that Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to drive the stimulating $787-billion spending plans that were to keep unemployment below 8%, instead of around 9% and 10%….

Only 22% of likely voters think the country is on the right track, the lowest level since before Obama’s inauguration. Conversely, more than 7 in 10 voters say the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since those final few failed days of George W. Bush‘s two terms.

Although majorities in all three countries on Obama’s itinerary still approve of him, Gallup finds the approval ratings have dipped there too, in some cases significantly.

In Brazil, Obama’s approval is 55%, down 6 points. In Chile, it’s 67%, down 5 points. In his final stop, El Salvador, 61% approve of the American president, down 23 points.

Quick-let’s have another presidential election before somebody in the faculty lounge decides that Chile and El Salvador get to vote in American elections!