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Gene Lyons


Obama resilient in face of flagging poll numbers

For a guy whose presidency was supposed to be on life support, Barack Obama has certainly had a productive couple of weeks. With his poll numbers sinking toward George W. Bush territory — 53 percent in a recent CNN survey said he’s not a strong or decisive leader — Obama took bold action on two issues that dramatized the power of the presidency.

Fix the website and the ACA succeeds

Bad news for CLNN, the Chicken Little News Network, that is, just about all of them lately: In states which have set up their own Affordable Care Act marketplaces, enrollment is proceeding apace. Indeed, media melodrama about “Obama’s Katrina” and similar formulations appears paradoxically to have reminded people that dependable health insurance is at last available to them and their families.

CBS, Lara Logan still have some explaining to do

The comic figure of the braggart soldier first appears in Plautus’s play “Miles Gloriosus” in roughly 200 B.C., although the Roman dramatist acknowledged a now-lost Greek model. So it’s surprising that somebody who’s spent as much time in war zones as “60 Minutes’” Lara Logan failed to recognize the type: a swaggering, self-anointed hero describing military feats nobody witnessed but him.

A constitutional coup

“It’s easier to fool people,” Mark Twain apparently never said, “than to convince them that they have been fooled.” You can find those words all over the Internet attributed to Twain, but I can locate no credible source.