It has become axiomatic to many of Obama’s well-wishers and passionate supporters that something has gone wrong with his "communications skills". That misses the point. His communications skills are just fine; terrific, in fact. Any of us would kill to have his communications skills. You really have to hate him as a precondition to finding him charmless, or uninteresting, or turgid. He’s none of those things. He’s an interesting shaper of sentences. He says things in unexpected ways.
He can communicate. What he seems unable to do any longer is persuade . . .Pause for thought. I suppose the nearest comparison over here - in terms of charisma - has been Blair. But he was glibness personified, an exemplar of the profoundly shallow paradox. Blair's lack of substance was his principal political strength, if you measure that in terms of gaining and remaining in power, helped by an opposition that was - and remains - mesmerized by him. But he changed nobody's mind about anything.
Obama's situation is exactly the reverse. He is a conviction politician who has used his charisma to achieve concrete political objectives. By doing so, he went from being a screen onto which people could project their yearnings to being a defined target/scapegoat for their dissatisfactions. And he has violently changed people's minds, mainly to a point of view hostile to his own.
Were I a politician, I know what conclusions I would draw from that.