Now, I can see Rich's loophole: "one of the most popular politicians in America." All he needs for his statement to be true is for there to be a lot of other politicians who are more unpopular. And then, job approval isn't necessarily popularity. Presumably, Obama still has this personal popularity, which he could somehow begin to use to do things people would actually approve of.
Anyway, Rich goes on to say that Obama is in trouble and must act quickly. He'd like to see Obama "exerting such take-no-prisoners leadership to challenge those who threaten our own economic recovery" and holds up an example of JFK "threaten[ing] to sic his brother’s Justice Department on corporate records" after the chairman of U.S. Steel tried to "break a White House-brokered labor-management contract agreement and raise the price of steel (but not wages)." Rich doesn't identify anything precisely equivalent to the U.S. Steel situation that would make good theater for Obama.
Hmmm. I wrote that last sentence and carefully chose the expression "good theater" without it even crossing my mind that Rich began his career as a theater critic.
I've got to say, I really don't understand what Rich would like Obama to do and how it could help our terrible economy. Here is the text of Kennedy's press conference. Can you extrapolate from that and apply it to today? The most Rich has is:
When it comes to economic substance, small symbolic gestures (the proposed new bank “fee”) won’t cut it. Nor will ineffectual presidential sound bites railing against Wall Street bonuses beyond the federal government’s purview. There’s no chance of a second stimulus. The White House will have to jawbone banks on foreclosures, credit card racketeering and the loosening of credit to small businesses....So... jawboning... or is Obama supposed to threaten them somehow?