★ Youth and Inexperience

Despite the pomp and circumstance that surrounded his inauguration and the endless praise from the media, the first few weeks of Barack Obama's presidency have been a disaster. Following an inaugural address brimming with anti-market rhetoric, the Dow Jones responded by diving below 8000, and has shown no signs of recovery. Meanwhile, four of Obama's cabinet appointees have found themselves in legal trouble - three over unpaid taxes, and one over a pay-for-play scandal that threatens to swallow the New Mexico state government. All four should have been caught during the vetting process. In all likelihood, they were, but Obama tried to force them through anyway, confident that his own aura of magnificence would provide them sufficient cover. In all but one case (tax cheat and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner), he was wrong.
The President's signature piece of legislation - a bloated economic stimulus package that does shockingly little in the way of economic stimulation but quite a lot in the way of growing federal power - has been met with surprising opposition from House Republicans who somehow seem to have rediscovered their small government roots after eight years in the wilderness. Additionally, Rasmussen Reports finds that a plurality of Americans now oppose the package. The oceans have not yet stopped rising and we have not yet cast aside our differences to embrace our brothers. America remains as sharply divided and partisan as ever. Shocking as it may be, Barack Obama has not yet proven himself America's political messiah.And yet for an individual with a reputation for coolness, Obama's outburst at yesterday's Democratic retreat is stunningly amateurish and reveals a man who is out of his league. As a candidate, Obama made his name on empty platitudes about post-partisanship. Yet last night the mask slipped, and America saw the face of a fiercly partisan man struggingly to regain footing he never should have lost. The challenge Obama faces now is that his entire appeal was built on the idea that he could transcend our differences to unite us. That is proving false. And following the challenges his appointees have faced, the growing opposition to his stimulus package, and the beginnings of Republican resurrgence, one has to wonder how much longer Obama can maintain his high approval ratings and aura of invincibility. He's already fallen pretty far from his peak. How much further will he plumment in the next month?

Ultimately, Obama is proving everything Republcans said during the election to be true. He is shockingly inexperienced, overwhelmingly partisan, and driven by ego. He has yet to show the confidence, competence, and authority that this nation expects from its presidents. Consequently, he is failing in that office, and America is starting to notice.

Update: The Congressional Budget Office is not optimistic about the stimulus.