This Wheel's On Fire

Insider Democrats are having “A Sudden Realization” about Mr. Obama, Richard Fernandez writes:

Ron Fournier reveals that yet another highly placed Democrat has quit on the president. He’s not naming names but paraphrasing what they said.  The thing that broke the camel’s back for some was the Bowe Bergdahl incident. But it was not Bergdahl itself that mattered, so much as the train of events of which it was a part.

The email hit my in-box at 9:41 p.m. last Wednesday. From one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, a close adviser to the White House, the missive amounted to an electronic eye roll. “Even I have had enough.”

Another Democrat had quit on President Obama.

The tipping point for this person was the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl case—not the soldier-for-Taliban swap itself as much as how the White House mishandled its obligation to communicate effectively and honestly to Congress and the public. More than that, Obama’s team had failed once again to acknowledge its mistakes, preferring to cast blame and seek cover behind talking points.

On closer inspection the real reason for the low-level Democrat fever is the unease from the growing suspicion that Obama doesn’t listen to them — listen to people who fancied themselves influential in the Democratic party. One of the foundations of insider self-esteem is to imagine you are a player.  If all of a sudden you find the steering wheel through which you imagined yourself exercising influence proved actually like one of those child’s toys only allow the user to pretend he’s driving — then you realize that you’re not an insider after all.

The illusion of concordance may have held up at first, at the start of the Obama administration. But ever since Hope and Change left the off-ramp it seems headed off into the blue and nobody is quite sure where it’s going.  A terrible realization has set in among insiders. Suppose this wheel is disconnected from the steering linkage?


Along with several travel-related analogies, Richard compares elite insider Democrats to the original Bolsheviks who were the first to discover Stalin’s murderous intent, but also refused to bail out. Each man “believed that staying on the inside was best; and they were not worried because they believed their personal closeness (“fireside chats”) to Stalin would protect them,” Richard writes, noting that “An unbelievable percentage of them finished up in the Gulag.”

Obama isn’t Stalin of course, but Democrats knew there was a distinct possibility of a tyrant with a runaway train aspect to him when they compared him to Lincoln and FDR — before he took office — both presidents who acted in the most unilateral fashion possible when faced with crises and were rewarded by history for their actions. Left unsaid in 2008 was a comparison with Woodrow Wilson, only because Democrats are experts at creating self-induced amnesia when faced with the many unsavory aspects of their own past.

Oh, and speaking of Obama and the Bergdahl debacle, is Chuck Hagel about to take the fall for the backlash over the administration’s insane decision making?


The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round

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