Obama, the Betrayer

The right noticed long ago that Obama is a cold fish and an arrogant loner, a man willing to abandon longtime mentors in the blink of an eye if need be (think Jeremiah Wright). It never seemed as though Democrats cared, though, as long as Obama served their purposes and they served his.

Now that he's become a little bit of an embarrassment to them, Obama may find, perhaps for the first time in his life, that a number of his fellow liberals are willing to throw him under the bus. Not only does there seem to be a new willingness for at least some members of the MSM to report negative news about Obama, but there's a reservoir of ill will among Democratic politicians that's been building up and threatens to burst:

One Democrat who likes Obama and has been around town for many years said elected officials in his own party are no different than Republicans: they think the president is distant and unapproachable.

“He has never taken the Democratic chairs up to Camp David to have a drink or to have a discussion,” the longtime Washingtonian said. “You gotta stroke people, and talk to them. It’s like courting: you have to send flowers and candy and have surprises. It’s a constant process. Now they’re saying, ‘He never talked to me in the good times.’ ”

How is it that Obama can be such a successful politician and yet be so unable to exhibit an important quality that almost all such politicians possess in abundance: the ability to schmooze? Special dispensation because of race may be part of the answer, but only a small part. Superficial charm is another, but it can only get him so far, and even his fellow party members have now learned its limitations.

What they haven't yet learned is the significance of another major part of the Obama resume, which is that he does not operate on the usual political system of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." Instead, he's just as likely to thank you by sticking a shiv (metaphorically speaking, that is) in your back.

And this is not a recent development. It was Obama's modus operandi from the start, and it was practiced on Democrats. In Chicago, where Obama's political career began, the important game was to win the Democratic primary, because that would guarantee election in Obama's hugely Democratic district. The way Obama managed to do this in his very first race was by obliterating his Democratic rivals on a technicality, and especially, by betraying his liberal Democratic mentor, Alice Palmer.

If you're not familiar with the story, it's well worth reading to get a key to the very special Obama ruthlessness. The gist of it is that newcomer Obama, after being tapped by established Chicago African-American politician Alice Palmer to be her successor, mounted legal challenges to the petitions of all his Democratic rivals (including, it turns out, Palmer), knocking them off the primary ballot on technicalities and running unopposed, thereby guaranteeing his own victory before the voting ever began.

Obama won his first race for office not because of his intra-party collegiality, but due to his lack of it. Thus, when he got to the Illinois Senate his reputation preceded him and his potential for power was acknowledged. He seems to have adopted the Machiavellian strategy that it is better to be feared than loved:

"[Obama's] introduction to the political community was that he knocked off Alice," said Ron Davis, a longtime Obama political hand who filed the challenge against Palmer and still cackles with glee over their victory...So they heard about Barack before he came down there to Springfield: Who was this guy who came in and knocked Alice off the ballot?'"