Democratic Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA) had some choice words about President Obama in today’s The Hill:
After observing President Obama for the last three years, it has become obvious to me that the president might prefer to be a university professor rather than do the job he holds today. While he might not realize that he feels this way, the evidence is very clear to those who work with or watch him closely.
In the president’s first year in office, his administration suffered from what I call “idea disease.” Every week, and sometimes almost every day, the administration rolled out a new program for the country. There was no obvious prioritization and, after the rollout, very little effort to actually pass the latest idea/imperative/plan/edict. Instead, the new programs just kept coming, with the new proposals constantly stepping on the previous day’s message. This rampant “idea disease” squandered the tremendous goodwill generated by the Obama campaign’s message of “hope,” tainting the president’s personal appeal. As Democrats in Congress, we often felt like we were drinking water out of a fire hose, trying to simultaneously deal with past failures of the Bush administration and the avalanche of new initiatives from Obama. This lack of focus also made it easy for congressional Republicans to stall and foil many of President Obama’s best initiatives — which they did with relish!
Early in his administration, President/Professor Obama repeatedly referred to “teaching moments.” He would admonish staff, members of Congress and the public, in speeches and in private, about what they could learn from him. Rather than the ideological or corrupt “I’m above the law” attitudes of some past administrations, President Obama projected an arrogant “I’m right, you’re wrong” demeanor that alienated many potential allies. Furthermore, the president concentrated power within the White House, leaving Cabinet members with no other option but to dutifully carry out policies with which they had limited input in crafting and might very well disagree. From my experience, this was especially true in the environmental, resources, housing and employment areas. Not by coincidence, these areas have also been responsible for much of the president’s harshest critiques.
Cordoza also writes that Obama “lectures” rather than listens — even with Democrats, and that he and the White House staff are out of touch with ordinary Americans.
The similarities with President Carter are striking. Speaker Tip O’Neill was making almost verbatim criticisms of Carter back in 1980. In Obama’s case, the disease is more related to arrogance than anything. Even his incompetence is a measure of his imperious belief in himself. His disastrous policies are not his fault — and he has a laundry list of culprits that he trots out at the drop of a dime to prove it.
Cardoza also relates a jaw dropping vignette:
The president’s disinterest in input from those outside his inner circle is costing him many wasted opportunities. Recently, a senator told me Obama went to his/her state, but issued an invitation for the senator to attend the event only the day before. “I represent a must-win state and lead the president in approval ratings by nearly 20 points. He was totally off-message for what my people wanted to hear. Doesn’t the White House get it? I don’t need him, he needs ME!”
No, Obama and the White House don’t “get it.” And that’s why a Republican is likely to be sitting in the Oval Office in January, 2013.