Ed Driscoll

Thin-Skinned and Highfalutin

This Politico story titled “The ego factor: Can Barack Obama change?” is full of rich creamy schadenfreude goodness. It includes Douglas Brinkley’s quote that “The worst thing that happened to Obama is he’s lost a lot of his aura. Even his friends think he’s thin-skinned and a bit highfalutin,” which is sure to be repeated endlessly in the Blogosphere in the coming months. But this item in particular stands out:

A 2008 New Yorker article quoted Patrick Gaspard, now the White House political director, describing what Obama told him during the job interview: “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

And then there’s this:

In author David Remnick’s Obama biography, “The Bridge,” he quotes White House adviser and longtime friend Valerie Jarrett: “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So, what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”

Or as Obama told another biographer, “You know, I actually believe my own bulls***.”

On the other hand, now we know what Obama saw in Joe Biden. Clearly, these men are remarkably kindred spirits; compare Obama’s quote above with this classic Biden moment from 1988:

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