His critics say he's weak and whiny. But he's doing what most Presidents do: muddling through
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For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?
–Shakespeare’s Richard II
It has been ever thus. From Shakespeare’s deposed Richard II to Lyndon Johnson, from Henry V to Bill Clinton, outsize ambition often brings along outsize emotional needs. Theodore H. White, the TIME-LIFE chronicler of U.S. presidential campaigns, once defined what he called “the politician’s optic,” in which the hostile language in any press story leaps off the page. By the same token, White wrote, even the slightest compliment to an opponent “swells to double-size capitals” in the politician’s gaze.