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Ed Driscoll

‘Please Excuse My President’

June 4th, 2012 - 12:57 pm

Peter Wehner has a lengthy article in the new issue of Commentary with the above title on the unexpectedly shovel-ready high-speed intercontinental 57-state train wreck that is the Obama administration. Quoting from three new books, each written by a far left author who went into 2009 as a true believer in The One, Wehner concludes:

If Obama goes on to lose his bid for reelection, it would be yet another crushing blow to liberalism. And in reading these books, it is hard to avoid the impression that the effort to explain a 2012 defeat is already under way.

“Obama ran for president because he believed there was a confluence of problems that were a long time in the making, a consequence of rapid changes in communications, technology, and the economy,” Axelrod is quoted as saying in Showdown. “And the real question was, Are we mature enough as a country to deal with that in a way that works for most Americans?”

Axelrod then summed up the case for Obama: “This may not be entirely satisfying, but he believes his highest responsibility is to get things done.” Axelrod’s own job, as he understands it, has been to “find a way to convey this, to politically monetize character.” He added, “It’s not entirely apparent you can do that.”

If the president loses in November, the left, ever in search of narratives, will settle on this one: Barack Obama was simply too good for America.

Ace responds in wonder about “The illusions they cling to:”

This capsulizes various reports from inside the White House, including reporter’s comments and tidbits pulled from books about Obama’s presidency.

It’s not a pretty picture. I can’t quote it all, so I’ll just quote a few tasty morsels.

The beginning is about the four main critiques of Obama from liberals. As usual, it’s the typical claptrap about “communications,” Obama having too high a moral character to join Republicans in the gutter, and two related problems: that Obama’s stimulus package was not big enough (and not socialist enough), which is caused by the second problem, that Obama cares too much about high deficits and therefore is too much of a fiscal conservative debt-hawk.

So the typical stuff: Obama simply cannot cure low-information voters of their resilient stupidity, Obama is too good to prosper in Evil America, and Obama’s far too conservative to make sound policy choices.

Fine answers all.

Then the article begins diagnosing Obama’s character — based on reportage from largely left-wing sources.

Perhaps the most unattractive personality trait that emerges from the various descriptions of the president is that he constantly feels underappreciated and is prone to bouts of self-pity. Obama complained that “events had conspired against him,” we read in Showdown. “He would routinely note that he had been handed ‘a real shitty deal’ when he entered the White House.” Prior to the 2010 election, a former senior White House official recalls to Corn: “The world seemed to be going to shit. The president was doing his best, but it was impossible to get credit.”

I wonder how many other people have worked their whole lives for a very high-status job, and then immediately began complaining the job was hard.

What did you think it would be? A “cakewalk”?

Yes, he did, if these passages from an early chapter in Ed Klein’s bestselling new book, The Amateur are accurate:

Shortly after Obama entered the White House, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned him, “Your legacy is going to be preventing the second Great Depression.” To which Obama boasted, “That’s not enough for me.”

* * * * * * * *

On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2009, Barack Obama invited nine like-minded liberal historians to have dinner with him in the Family Quarters of the White House. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, personally delivered the invitations to each historian with a word of caution: the dinner was to remain private and off the record….At the time of this dinner, Barack Obama was still enjoying a honeymoon period with the American people. According to the most recent Gallup Poll, 63 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing. Not surprisingly, he was in an expansive mood as he tucked into his lamb chops and went around the table questioning each historian by name—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Robert Dallek, David Brinkley, H. W. Brands, David Kennedy, Kenneth Mack, and Gary Wills.

* * * * * * * *

Tonight, in front of nine prominent American historians, Obama wasn’t shy about flaunting his famous self-confidence. He intended to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table and create a permanent peace in the Middle East. He would open a constructive dialogue with America’s enemies in Iran and North Korea and, through his powers of persuasion, help them see the error of their ways. He’d pass legislation in Washington to revolutionize the country’s healthcare system and energy policy. And he’d inject the regulatory hand of the federal government into the American economy in an effort to create “a more just and equitable society.” When several of the historians brought up the difficulties that Lyndon Johnson had faced trying to wage a foreign war while implementing an ambitious domestic agenda, Obama grew testy. He knew better. He could prevail by the force of his personality. He could solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, put millions of people back to work, redistribute wealth, withdraw from Iraq, and reconcile the United States to a less dominant role in the world.

It was, by any measure, a breathtaking display of narcissistic grandiosity from a man whose entire political curriculum vitae consisted of seven undistinguished years in the Illinois Senate, two mostly absent years in the United States Senate, and five months and ten days in the White House. Unintentionally, Obama revealed the characteristics that made him totally unsuited for the presidency and that would doom him to failure: his extreme haughtiness and excessive pride; his ideological bent as a far-left corporatist; and his astounding amateurism.

Haughtiness, corporatism and excessive pride you say? Those are character flaws that Obama shares with his remaining true believers:

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