I am giving Vanity Fair our coveted ‘Ya Thinks?™ Award (heck, it used to be the ‘Ya Think?™ Award, but these people are clearly thinking a lot!). Why they seem to have noticed that The Messiah is an arrogant pr***.
When Barack Obama arrived in Washington almost five years ago, the universal assumption was that the young president—who had, after all, won office by exploiting every connective tool of the national social and electoral network—would run his White House in sharp contrast to the bunkered, hunkered-down George W. Bush.
Like so much conventional wisdom, that impression has proved dead wrong. In fact, Obama’s resolute solitude—his isolation and alienation from the other players and power centers of Washington, be they rivals or friends—has emerged as the defining trait of his time in office. He may be the biggest presidential paradox since Thomas Jefferson, the slaveholder who wrote the Declaration of Independence: a community organizer who works alone.
In early 2011, when the president’s most trusted political adviser, David Axelrod, left the White House to return to Chicago to run his re-election campaign, Obama made a surprise appearance at Axelrod’s going-away party in a grand apartment off Dupont Circle on a wintry Saturday night. Clad casually in a black jacket, he spoke warmly, even emotionally, of the aidIne who had done so much to elect him. Then he made his way quickly around a living room full of Cabinet members, other aides, and off-duty reporters, grasping each proffered hand with a single, relentless, repeated greeting: “Gotta go.”
Obama’s self-evident isolation has another effect: It tends to insulate him from engagement in the management of his own administration. The latest round of “what did the president know and when did he know it” on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare and the tapping of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone raised troubling questions: Were Obama’s aides too afraid to tell him? Was he too detached to ask? Or both? At the least, such glaring failures cast fresh doubt on Obama’s invariable assurance to those around him in times of trouble: “I got this.”
This is a very long article, a series of anecdotes, really, and all of the anecdotes say the same think. The President is an arrogant … Now, any adult who has watched him starting in 2008 would have picked up on his body language, his obvious discomfort around others, his snide, contemptuous demeanor beneath his long-winded sentences. But most people wouldn’t allow themselves to notice this because it sets up cognitive dissonance: I don’t like Obama. Am I a racist? Yes, you are. He is the Messiah. George Bush was Satan. You must prefer Satan to the Messiah. And so forth. All discourse was silenced. A honest therapist would have said that we were “splitting”, seeing the world in black and white, which we were. For years.
But the media has been thinking harder and harder lately. I wonder if some of them are worried about their own health insurance? Their relationships with their doctors? How else to explain this sudden awareness that Obama is not ready for prime time?
What the heck! Let’s do a couple more anecdotes:
In 2009, in Obama’s first year in office, my wife and I found ourselves trapped in the Blue Room, next to one of the president’s most important early boosters and major fund-raisers, when Obama’s disembodied amplified voice suddenly rang out and the crowd rushed through a doorway to the mansion’s entry hall, blocking our view. The president had paused with his wife, Michelle, on the bottom steps of the Grand Staircase behind a velvet rope to make brief remarks and shake the few hands that could reach him, before retreating back upstairs. “Can you see him?” the graybeard asked as we craned our necks over the crowd. The answer was no. [question: Is this dude a journalist? I looked it up. Yes. And now he's the editor of Vanity Fair. Got that, BTL? The journalists were attending the big donor events. Because they had a crush. And we, the poor American public, don't have health care. - Aggie]
In late September, Obama attended a “dinner” fund-raiser for high donors to the Democratic National Committee at the super-luxe Jefferson Hotel a few blocks from the White House. Each of the two dozen-odd guests had contributed $32,400, the maximum allowed by law. The president’s motorcade left the White House for the hotel at 4:19 p.m. and was back at the White House by 5:25. The price of the encounter: about $540 per donor for each minute of the president’s time—at an hour when the only other people eating dinner in Washington were doing so in nursing homes. How much fun could that be—for anyone?
Well, to be honest, reading about it is fun for me.
Aggie, since you invoked my name, please allow this postscript to your most excellent post. Remember how Obama spoke to the nation after the horrific Islamic-inspired slaughter at Fort Hood. If you’ve never seen this before, gentle readers, please sit. The news networks broke into programming for this Special Report:
If you didn’t know who that was, you’d say he’s mentally ill, psychotic. You’d not be wrong.