If President Obama is wondering why his public approval rating isn't higher, he has only to look at statements such as: "You can't change Washington from the inside."
While the rest of the quote tempered its impact, the fact remains that he has failed to do what he promised. Obama was elected on a platform of change. Many of his campaign posters stressed only one word: "Change."
The man is president of the United States. He has countless government employees to call on and many more outside of government, including academics who would be happy to counsel him on effecting change.
While there are mitigating factors – he inherited an economy in free-fall and Congress has blocked many of his initiatives – the bottom line is that Obama has not shown that he is capable of making the changes necessary.
It becomes clear after reading Obama's whole quote what he meant: "The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That's how I got elected and that's how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That's how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families."
Still, saying, "You can't change Washington from the inside" was a blunder because it handed Mitt Romney a ready-made campaign attack line in much the same way that "You didn't build that" did. Romney calls the "can't change Washington from the inside" quote "the white flag of surrender." Unfortunately for Romney, he used almost the identical words during his 2008 campaign: "I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside."
Obama is not one to allow others to change his mind. He knows what is best and that is what he is going to do. The best example of that is the way he rammed through his complex Affordable Care Act.
We aren't sure he is capable of it, but Obama should learn how to give serious consideration to input from the public and to his advisers rather than always going it alone.
Obama and Romney both seem to be missing the point that an effective president works from both inside and outside Washington. A president should be able to shape public opinion and use that to help him work with Congress to accomplish change