The news this morning is that President Barack Obama's popularity with the American people is in decline. In large measure, this is simply a normal occurance. It is impossible for newly elected Presidents to maintain their initial popularity. As they make decisions they will disappoint people. As they endure in office, the allure of their earlier promises turns into the grim realization that they have not been able to produce the changes they promised. This is why the first 100 days are so critical to understanding the office. After about 100 days, it will become increasingly difficult for President Obama to get much accomplished from his perspective.
Still, the speed with which a President loses popularity is an important thing to watch, in my view. Here, Obama's inexperience and prior toleration of corruption harmed his chances of making the most of his Presidency. He blundered through the transition period, in part, because of his links to Gov. Blagojevich. As was the case with his earlier relationship with Tony Rezko, Obama found it hard to minimize a relationship that was subject to FBI wiretaps. Next, his defiant support of Sen. Tom Daschle lost him valuable prestige and showed off a gangster side that probably surprised a lot of well-meaning Americans who were willing to give him an opportunity to show what he could do.