The former New York City mayor Ed Koch was renowned for strolling about Manhattan when he was in office, grabbing strangers by the lapel and asking, “How am I doing?” This is not exactly Barack Obama’s style – he shimmers around, with a dry but beguiling smile that seems to say, “Don’t touch me” – but others are doing it for him. In an age of 24-hour news channels, millions of blogs and columnists vying to stay above the bloggerrhoeic tide, there is a real urge to make a clear and instant judgment.
Give him time. Then give him hell. That’s the philosophy most Americans understand – and they’d like this new president to succeed. They also know how deep this hole is and don’t expect it to disappear overnight. They won’t suspend judgment, but I suspect they won’t rush to it either. How’s he doing? As Koch might say: come back in a year and we’ll talk.