I submit that this will be the question to keep in mind as the presidential campaign begins to heat up in earnest.
Last week the President announced via social media that he was, indeed, planning to run for a second term. Then, in what was arguably the most Washington-focused week so far this year, the President made sure to position himself right in the thick of things.
For months he declined to get involved in the budget process, thus keeping himself at arm's length from any criticism coming from either direction concerning whatever budget may have been passed.
Then he announced his candidacy and, almost at the same time, thrust himself into the budget process, summoning Mssrs. Reid and Boehner to the White House for repeated meetings, and warning of the dire consequences of a government shut-down.
During the fray he managed to get up to Philadelphia to make an appearance for clean-fuel energy.
Back to D.C. When Congress managed finally to break its six-month stalemate, there was the President, speaking to the nation about the security of her future, standing in front of a window with the lighted Washington Monument clearly visible in the background.
Then, the next day, the President, having announced that he had cancelled a family outing to Williamsburg, was out on the mall, hobnobbing with hoi polloi in the shadow of the Lincoln and Jefferson Monuments, shaking hands and high-fiving all around.
Recall that this is the same man who very deliberately sought to distance himself from any connection with America's past heritage as he promoted a new era of "hope and change" which he would define. He even suggested that the earth would begin to heal on the day he was inaugurated.
Now - Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, family, and the people? If you took away his remarks - and in this age of image, who pays attention to words anymore anyway? - the President looked this past week for all the world like he might have been a member in good standing of a Tea Party group.
So let's watch very carefully, because Mr. Obama, he is one very smart and very pragmatic man. Is he going to run for president this time against a backdrop suggesting he's, you know, just like one of the Founders, and just like one of us, while he measures his speech in an effort to win back the Independents who abandoned him and his party last November?
Amid all this shape-shifting, it would be nice if our Christian president could rediscover some real Christian rootings for his policies and politics. I don't look for that, but, hey, we can always pray and hope.
Additional related texts: Colossians 2.8; 1 Chronicles 12.32; James 1.16, 17
A conversation starter: "As the next presidential campaign begins to ramp-up, how can voters penetrate the veneer of appearances and campaign rhetoric to discern the real positions and intentions of each candidate?
T. M. Moore