Ed Driscoll

Our Recently Retired President

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The Presidency is Breaking Obama Even As Obama Has Broken the Nation,” Peter Wehner writes at Commentary, quoting Hugh Hewitt’s recent interview with Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, who tells Hugh:

Well, you know, we had Dana Milbank on who, again, not the most right wing columnist for the Washington Post, but Dana said it’s one thing for presidents going on vacation. We’re all big supporters of presidents going on vacation. It’s another thing to be in Martha’s Vineyard while you’ve got tanks rolling in Middle America, and all the Middle East melts down. This is a president that does go out of his way to show that he’s not paying attention to what anybody says. He’s going to do exactly what he wants to do, and he’s going to be stubborn about it. He is politically, he is either politically tone deaf or he just doesn’t give a damn. And I tend to believe based on everything I’ve heard from people who work inside the White House, and we’ve got a lot of friends there, and based on my friends who are senior Democratic senators, this president has checked out.

Wehner adds:

What could possibility explain this attitude? It may be that Mr. Obama was drawn to the job not for the right reasons but because he viewed the presidency as a new mountain to climb, a prize to win, as a way to feed his unusually large ego (even for a politician). It may also be that Mr. Obama, with his presidency crumbling, is like a petulant child who wants to pick up his marbles and leave. He was fine serving as president when he was adored and well liked; now that things are going south he appears to have emotionally “checked out,” to use Scarborough’s phrase.

The problem with this is that Mr. Obama is disengaging (a) after having done extraordinary damage to America and (b) at a moment when the world is convulsing because of the void left by Obama’s (and therefore America’s) diffidence and passivity. An increasingly insouciant commander-in-chief is not what’s needed at this particular time, given the multiplying threats and increasing disorder in the world.

It’s very much beginning to look at if Barack Obama saw the presidency as primarily a way to satisfy his narcissism. What’s happened instead is the presidency is breaking him, even as he is breaking the nation.

There’s a very simple option available right now for the former president to make it official, of course:

(And to respond to the obvious rejoinder, at this point, Biden would actually be an improvement — the notion of which sums up how badly this administration has imploded.)

In any case, once the former president does leave the White House, the fun will really begin for the rest of us, Scarborough tells Hugh:

This president wants yes men around him. And again, I hear that from my Democratic friends, I hear that from his own former chiefs of staff. If anybody steps out of line, they’re immediately insulated and pushed out. You know, I said this on set after the cameras were turned off to a couple of people who I knew wouldn’t say it on the air. I said guys, you know as well as I do that the second this administration is over, the books are going to come from former secretaries of state. The books are going to come from former chiefs of staff. The books are going to come, and this president is going to have to deal with 20-30 years of disparagement from his own side, calling him one of the least effective presidents, because he’s one of the most insulated presidents.

Actually, given the amount of damage he’s inflicted on both America and the Middle East, from a punitive leftist point of view, Mr. Obama’s been an incredibly effective president. And it’s only a matter of time before his career is assessed by his fellow leftists, from that perspective.

QED.