Alana Goodman provides some validation to my assertion that Barack Obama likes the perks of being President, but really isn’t that crazy about the job itself.
First though, some interesting info on debates and Obama:
According to the Times, Obama also deeply dislikes debates. It might be understandable if this was because he found them challenging and outside of his comfort zone. But that’s not what the Times reports. Obama apparently dislikes debates because he views them as “media-driven gamesmanship… something to endure, rather than an opportunity.” In other words, debates are below him. It’s not that he’s a weak debater, it’s that the debate format is too trivial for the likes of Barack Obama.
And, of course, he holds Romney in “disdain”, which likely makes it even harder. What will be interesting is whether someone who dislikes debates and the person he has to debate can rally and do what is necessary in the next two debates. Ummm … probably not.
But on to the main point. Goodman talks about Obama as President failing at the very personal level, a level that requires an ability he just doesn’t seem to have the self-discipline to exercise. And it isn’t in just one sphere or area. It is an across the board inability to form relationship with critical demographics and people.
This isn’t the first major aspect of the presidency (and campaigns) that Obama reportedly disdains. George W. Bush wasn’t a fantastic debater, but he was considered a great communicator in person. Obama, in contrast, doesn’t appear to enjoy personal interaction in general. He knocks debates as “gamesmanship,” but he also doesn’t like socializing. And as the New Yorker reported, he’s alienated major donors because he hasn’t been able to build relationships with them.
Obama’s interpersonal struggles have also caused him problems in the policy realm. He dislikes working with members of congress, and his disengagement from the legislative side of the political process has been criticized routinely by both Republicans andDemocrats. The same goes for foreign policy. The New York Times reported that Obama’s difficulty dealing with the Arab Spring has stemmed from his “impatience with old-fashioned back-room diplomacy” and “failure to build close personal relationships with foreign leaders.”
According to Game Change author John Heilemann, Obama is one of those rare politicians who “don’t like people…[and] don’t like politics.”
Goodman asks, “so why is he running for re-election”. Here’s a politician who doesn’t like politics and doesn’t like people?
See title. It’s good to be the top dog and enjoy all the perks. Work?
Yeah, see, that’s for the little people. I mean he’s never had to work before, why would he want too now?
But give him 4 more years, will you? He hasn’t had all the Wagyu beef he wants at this point. And it’s cool having your own airplane at your beck and call if you want to jet off somewhere for dinner. How cool? $1.4 billion cool … the cost to taxpayers to keep the president in the style to which he’s become accustomed.
The more we learn about this guy, the less he seems right for the job. Of course the past 4 years have pretty much proven that, despite Andrew Sullivan’s claim that his record is just sterling, he’s been an abject, incompetent failure. He hasn’t grown in the job, he’s shrunk. The debate performance was just his version of a shoulder shrug. He doesn’t know his job. How can he debate it?
I got a laugh out of Sullivan’s melt down though (a few actually):
And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying.
It should be. The guy (and Sullivan) actually thinks he’s done a good job. Yet, as Sullivan goes on to say, somehow in one night, Obama managed to lose the 18 point lead he had among women. Gee, you think they figured out that he’s still not ready for prime time, even after 4 years of OJT?
But Sullivan does manage to ask the pregnant question of the moment:
How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement?
You don’t. Not if that image is indeed the first image of the political season like it likely was for many of the almost 70 million who tuned in.
What they saw was a guy on one side who was energized, engaging and articulate. On the other side they saw the guy who is President. My guess is they concluded he really didn’t want to be President after that performance.
I think they’re probably right.