It’s lonely at the top — or bottom, or wherever President Obama is when he isn’t at a fundraiser:
The disenchantment with Obama is in part a reflection of inevitable fatigue with a president entering his final years in office. But some Democrats say it is also a consequence of the president’s insular approach to governing and his preference for relying on a small cadre of White House advisers, leaving him with few loyal allies on Capitol Hill or elsewhere.
“This president is supremely independent,” said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and longtime adviser to President Bill Clinton. “In many ways that is a very good thing. He probably came to the presidency owing less to other people than any president in memory. The risk is that independence can morph into isolation.”
Here’s a fun game you can play right there at home or in your office. Name a longtime, non-political friend of Obama’s. I’ll give you a minute.
It’s OK. I couldn’t think of any either.
Now name a longtime friend of Obama’s who holds elective office in Washington.
Give up? Me, too.
He has his Chicago cadre, but even that has shrunk over the last couple of years. And his relations with Capitol Hill, such as they are and have ever been, leave him with few shoulders to lean on and little sage advice to be whispered in his ear.
I’ve written on several occasions (as recently as last week regarding Stevie Wonder) about rock stars who reach that pinnacle of success where no one — not their bands, not their managers, not their producers — can tell them No anymore and make it stick. And then the music starts to suck and the record sales decline. The fans, at least, get to say no.
But instead of an unlistenable album by an aging rock god, we get ebola and ISIL and a disintegrating southern border. Honestly, I’d rather listen to Stevie Wonder’s In Square Circle on autorepeat until the cows die of boredom.
Speaking of listening, or of not listening, here’s Ed Morrissey:
When George Bush asked for Rumsfeld’s resignation, it was because Bush had followed Rumsfeld’s advice, for better and worse, and knew a new direction was needed. Reagan asked chief of staff Donald Regan to resign during the Iran-Contra scandal because Reagan needed a new hatchet man to handle the crisis. A fresh team won’t have the same value in this case. As Panetta, Clinton, and Gates make clear in their memoirs, Obama wasn’t taking their advice anyway. It’s likely that he’s not listening to his current team any more than his previous team, except to the extent that they tell Obama what he wants to hear.
Do you get the idea that Obama reached the Aging Rock Star phase around the time he published his first memoir shortly before his 33rd birthday?