In addition, Obama later acquired a new mentor, Illinois state Senate President Emil Jones (previously allied with Palmer, but willing to make the switch), who understood that power and helped Obama after Democrats got control of the state Senate by handing him legislation that had been developed by other Democrats and letting Obama take the credit. This helped to further pave the way for Obama’s success:
In the State Senate, Jones did something even more important for Obama. He pushed him forward as the key sponsor of some of the Party’s most important legislation, even though the move did not sit well with some colleagues who had plugged away in the minority on bills that Obama now championed as part of the majority.
Taking credit for the work of others doesn’t make you many friends, but it can help you to get ahead, and Obama rode the record of his “achievements” all the way to the U.S. Senate, and then of course to the White House. There seemed to be no negative career consequences to it all, and Obama learned that seeming to be a superior being, above the hoi polloi, while simultaneously playing ruthless hardball, was a stance that suited both his natural temperament and his purposes.
But it finally may be — accent on the “may” — that Obama has found the limits of this particular approach. Now that the triple threat of the Benghazi, IRS, and AP scandals has come to haunt him, he may discover that his inability to cultivate positive relationships outside of a very few close, similarly insular, and trusted advisors such as Valerie Jarrett will finally have a cost. As Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club succinctly put it, the formerly worshipful press has had an especially hard awakening in learning of the Obama administration’s acquisition of AP phone records:
…[I]f the administration could do that to its water-carriers then what was the point to being his friend?…
Nobody completely trusts reassurances from a double-crosser. Only a fool would accept a kiss from Judas.
But it’s not as though Obama has only recently turned into a Judas, and members of the press in particular should have known he was fully capable of that all along. After all, the article describing how Obama got his start was written in 2007, and the events themselves had occurred over a decade earlier. The press either did not do its homework, or for some reason just thought it could never happen to them. Republicans can have the pleasure of being able to say “I told you so,” but it’s cold comfort, because too much damage has been done to the nation already, and we have three and a half long years ahead of us that promise to feature more of the same.