The inside the beltway media has come up with yet another explanation for the President's failure to exert leadership. It seems that Obama isn't just a new Lincoln, a new FDR, or the second coming of Jack Kennedy. He's just like Ike!
Ronald Brownstein, opining in the National Journal, notes:
Whether he is confronting the turmoil reshaping the Middle East or the escalating budget wars in Washington, Obama most often uses a common set of strategies to pursue his goals. Those strategies have less in common with Kennedy's inspirational, public-oriented leadership than with the muted, indirect, and targeted Eisenhower model that political scientist Fred Greenstein memorably described as a "hidden hand" presidency.
This approach has allowed Obama to achieve many of his domestic and international aims-from passing the health reform legislation that marked its stormy first anniversary this week to encouraging Egypt's peaceful transfer of power. But, like it did for Eisenhower, this style has exposed Obama to charges of passivity, indecisiveness, and leading from behind. The pattern has left even some of his supporters uncertain whether he is shrewd-or timid.
On most issues, Obama has consciously chosen not to make himself the fulcrum. He has identified broad goals but has generally allowed others to take the public lead, waited until the debate has substantially coalesced, and only then announced a clear, visible stand meant to solidify consensus. He appears to believe he can most often exert maximum leverage toward the end of any process-an implicit rejection of the belief that a president's greatest asset is his ability to define the choices for the country (and the world).
Aside from the golf, I don't see it. And I don't think any serious biographer of Ike's would either. For one thing, Ike had both the good sense and the experience to know that American interests in the Middle East were not coterminous with those of the French and the British.