Let me finish with this.
This movie we previewed tonight, Olympus has Fallen, is great proof of this extraordinary office we have in the American presidency.
You see, it’s not just a job, like prime minister. You don’t get to go home after 40 or 50 hours a week. You’re on the job continually because the job is you. A president’s thinking, his feelings about things, matter. Whether he’s happy matters. Whether he’s frustrated matters.
Unlike prime ministers, we put our presidents in a special house to live. We put them there to show them off, to remind them who they are every minute, day, and night. This is what creates the magic. The presidency is not just an important job; his (or her, someday) very life is connected to the life of the country. It’s why we cheer when we see him, why those scenes in movies like this new one or in that great film Dave or in Air Force One. People cheering the president is simply what we do in this country.
So the challenge facing this president, and he hasn’t quite got it yet, is using the prestige of the presidency, which is really unrivaled by the Congress these days. Just look at the polls! He has yet to use the office’s majesty to capture and exploit the public’s determination for action—on guns, on immigration, on jobs.
We are entering a crucial stage in the Obama presidency. He has ample time to begin moving the country but it is less each day, and soon it could be too close to the 2014 elections to get big things done.