American Elephants


“Obama’s Imperious Presidency” From the White House Dossier by The Elephant's Child

Those of us who are troubled by the policies of the Obama administration spend far too much time trying to figure out why President Obama does the things he does — semi-psychoanalysis by the unqualified. This president is remarkably reticent about himself, and we end up trying to figure out what he can possibly be thinking.

Keith Koffler, veteran White House reporter offered his bit of pop psychology recently to discuss one of the reasons why Obama wants to rule, to the greatest extent possible, from the Oval Office, and I found  his take really interesting.

Sure, contempt for Congress and the Constitutional process – as well as the absolute certainty that his motives and agenda are unquestionably right and just – all plays into it. But there’s another critical piece to this: Obama is, for a politician, a relative loner who doesn’t want to be bugged by members of Congress. Of either Party.

He has no famous chums in Congress. He has few relationships of any sort with lawmakers. Really what he wants to do is make his decisions in the Oval Office, have a few meetings, give some speeches on college campuses and at high schools, and play golf. And then send Jay Carney out to talk about how Republicans are intransigent, politically motivated hacks who don’t even wear deodorant. …

Unfortunately, Obama’s temperament will now have serious consequences for the nation. We’ll be in a constant state of Constitutional subversion for the next three years as Obama issues edicts and bullies the private sector into doing his bidding. At any point, with some particularly outlandish act, he can kick things up to a major Constitutional crisis. It’s a sad thing to see.

Messy as our system is, the Founders designed it that way so our representatives would have to argue and debate issues and spend time thinking deeply about them. It’s a lot better than having the nation run by a loner who wants to do it all his way because he thinks he knows what is best for us.

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Obama has never had the knack for playing on a team. At Punahou, his basketball coach says that Obama could have been a very good player, good enough to get a scholarship even, if Obama would simply practice more and work better with his teammates on drills. Obama refused to do either. He has always been isolated, and it’s Obama himself that is most responsible for that. Almost no classmates remember him from Occidental or Columbia (indeed, a friend of mine had a class with him at Occidental… had to be reminded of this, since he says Obama (then Soetoro) made so little impression), and at Harvard, only had a more visible social life due to his involvement with the Law Review. He treated early jobs as beneath him, was undistinguished as a “community organizer”, and everything he did was among a small circle of friends and acquaintances.

His whole demeanor has always been that he is better than his circumstances, even as President. He entered office with the idea of “Leader of the Free World” in his head, and as such has never felt the need to consult with anyone (“I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama once told David Plouffe, “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”) and deeply resents the idea that he has to listen to anyone else, and simply does not believe in compromise.

And I very much feel that if (when!) the Republicans take over the Senate later this year, we’ll see Obama isolate himself even more. Working with other people has never been a skill he’s learned, and his pride will never allow him to admit that he’s wrong.

Comment by Lon Mead

Richard Epstein said he “imitates an intellectual,” and “plays a clever game of intellectual poker.” Part of that is apparently reminding us constantly that he is President of the United States and Leader of the Free World. Wasn’t it Barbara Walters who said plaintively “We thought he was the Messiah!” Just the mild criticisms from Bob Gates’ book have had the left shaken. The insider’s books are going to be fascinating.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Reblogged this on The Court of St. James.

Comment by Reverend Jim




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