David Rothkopf is no fan of Bibi Netanyahu — but he saved both barrels for the White House:
The quote gives us an idea how top White House decision-makers feel about Netanyahu — but the effort to shift the blame to State gives us an idea of what they think about governing. Apparently lost on them is the fact that the State Department is actually part of the Obama administration, and that someone there saying it would reflect as badly on the president as it would if it were someone whose office were in the White House complex. But this us versus the world Obama leadership team, still in campaign mode six years later, apparently views everyone who doesn’t eat at the White House mess as an outsider — and views most of those folks as suspect.
You would think a White House this deep in the weeds would be forced out of simple necessity to widen its circle of trust. Even during decent times you’d expect that to happen as old advisors, cabinet members, and czars leave, and the West Wing fills up with fresh faces.
Reagan brought in new people after Iran-Contra. Clinton because of his inability to keep it zipped. Bush because of Iraq. If each man’s last two years weren’t exactly the best (cough, cough) of their administrations, at least their White Houses functioned properly.
Obama’s real test comes when the fate of the Senate is decided (either tomorrow night, or after December and/or January runoffs in GA an LA). Will he clean house? Will he bring in fresh people? Will he expand his diminishing inner circle to a healthier size? Over at Politico, Glenn Thrush and Carrie Budoff Brown don’t seem to think so:
So will he fire anybody? And can he still get anybody worth hiring to work for him? Already anticipating a bad election night, many Democrats and the TV pundit class have begun howling for a West Wing housecleaning, even if Obama shows no signs of doing so—though a Tuesday wipeout could change that thinking in a hurry.
For now, White House officials insist he won’t indulge in a ritual that they essentially equate to a sugar high for their critics, pleasing but fleeting. “That is not going to happen,” a senior administration official told us when asked if Obama was preparing a major staff shakeup. If anything the circle is tightening.
The level of mistrust that exists in this White House seems to border on Stalinesque paranoia, but without Stalin’s tender methods for getting …stuff… done.
It’s going to be a messy final two years.