Last week, Roger Simon asked a question which has kept me thinking well into this one, “Does Barack Obama want to be president?”
Ever since viewing his depressing and disconnected “energy” speech last week, I have been mulling whether Barack Obama actually wants to be president anymore. That was an address given by a man who looked very much like he didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to continue. He appeared slumped and worn, as if he aged eighteen years in eighteen months. His demeanor was oddly distracted.
I am not being metaphorical here — I am quite serious. The more I have thought about this, the more I am convinced Barack Obama no longer wishes to be president. The degree that he admits this to himself, I am not sure. But I rather suspect that in the small hours of the morning he fantasizes he were anywhere but 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And who could blame him?
Now, much as I admire, respect and just plain like Roger (having met him and his lovely bride Sheryl) on numerous occasions, I have to disagree with him on this one–even as I think he’s onto something with his question and his post. (Just read the whole thing.)
Roger’s right that Obama didn’t seem very engaged in that speech, treating it as most of us would treat a visit to a grouchy relative, an obligation we must perform to keep up appearances. The president just plain seems frustrated by the unexpected crises a chief executive must face. He’d rather give speeches and otherwise get the adulation of his fans (including especially various assorted celebrities).
Not just that, instead of considering the circumstances of the day, he wants to stick to the big-government agenda he’s been pushing all along. It’s as if nothing has changed since the campaign. (No wonder he and his fellow Democrats stick to their tired bromides about “inherited” problems and “failed [GOP] policies.”)
As Roger notes in a more recent post (one with which I agree wholeheartedly) even as the Democrats’ big-government policies fail to create jobs, they keep pushing them. “The only longterm solution to economic woe is free markets,” the Oscar-nominated writer observes, but if Democrats “admit it, their values and lives disintegrate.” And Obama would rather hold to that liberal ideology he most likely picked up in college than face the unexpected crises that come along.
No wonder the president seemed disconnected in his “energy” speech. The mere fact that he had to give it undermined the purpose, in his mind, of his presidency.
He should bear one thing in mind, real leaders are measured not by their ideology but how they face the circumstances which come their way, particularly the unexpected ones.
FROM THE COMMENTS: alanstorm offers:
Of course he wants to be president – partway. He wants to play the role and get the perks, but doesn’t want the actual WORK that goes with the job (maybe that part wasn’t in the recruiter’s literature).
If only the public would rush to ooh and aah over his every word, and proclaim his genius over every policy statement the way he envisioned it!
Reality must be really ticking him off right now.