I actually think that you’re (you and Fallows) are talking about different qualities. Obama is a tremendously engaging public presence–provided that you’re not put off by his destruction of all that is good in America. He is loose, charismaatic, and likable; and has a 50-megawatt smile.
But that is an entirely different thing from being able to do transactional politics in closed room. If you read the Fallows article, you’ll see that Obama just doesn’t seem to enjoy being with people in the same way as a GW Bush or a Clinton or a Johnson. He doesn’t primp egos of the people he needs to work with like really effective retail politicians. And he doesn’t really leave other politicians feeling valued and respected.