Washington Secrets

Divided on Obama: Today's 'Lincoln' or no 'messiah'

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

A day after Newsweek declared President Obama the "Second Coming," other media are raining on his second Inauguration, with the Washington Post even suggesting that the president is no "messiah."

But hope remains for Obama: Pollster John Zogby tells Secrets that the first African American president will go down in history and win monuments and coins just like Lincoln and Washington.

"As President Barack Obama prepares to be sworn in for a second term as the 44th President of the United States of America, there are a few things we know for sure," said Zogby. "There will be a monument erected in his honor somewhere along the pantheon of similar constructions that venerate the likes of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. There will also be a coin or some form of currency that will place his likeness in the same category as Jackson, Grant, and Kennedy."

But, added Zogby, it will be up to Obama to create that legacy and image. "Individuals who save money do the right thing but that doesn't make them great," said Zogby. "It is ultimately those who risk, invest, spend, and take chances who make things work and get the monuments built in their name. This will be the debate that Mr. Obama will launch on Monday - the pre-eminent risk-taker's birthday. Will the nation be better off because of the Obama presidency? In some ways it already is and the tangible monuments will be created. But the final answer will come from not only passing an agenda but by the numbers that show it."

As the president is officially sworn in to his second term in a private ceremony Sunday, not all in the media and pundit world are talking like Zogby and Newsweek.

Notably, the Post today in several columns is suggesting that the president has been something of a let down, mostly due to the rotten economy. Columnist Dana Milbank leads the way.

Noting the electric feeling Washington had on Obama's first Inauguration Day and the hope for major changes in the nation, he writes: "That messiah never came," and he predicts a "long and tedious slog" over the next four years.

Milbank even hits Obama's Monday ceremonial swearing in and parade as a "phony ceremony," adding, "we're just going through the motions."

The Post's editorial is also glum. The headline: "Obama 2.0 It's not too late for hope and change."

Even popular Metro columnist Robert McCartney is lecturing: "Be bolder than your first term, Mr. President," he writes.

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