With all the goings-on in the lame-duck session of Congress, there is much to write about, but, I, alas, have had less time than I would like to keep up with the news and to follow the blogs.
In what little attention I have paid to the news, I have noticed how the president has blundered badly this week. He neglected to consult his allies before he negotiated with his partisan adversaries on extending the Bush tax cuts and acted as if blind-sided by the criticism which ensued. Surely, a politician has to be prepared for attacks from all sides.
Jennifer Rubin called his press conference earlier this week this “worst press conference — ever“:
I don’t mean just for Obama. I mean any president. Or head of state. When I wrote this morning that he doesn’t do well in defeat, you didn’t know how right I was, huh? Let’s count the ways.
Calling Republicans “hostage takers.” Not helpful. Saying Republicans opposed middle class tax cuts. Not true — they wanted no tax increases for anyone. Accusing Republicans of holding out tax cuts for the rich as the “Holy grail.”
Others had similar reactions. Asking us to “Remember all that nonsense from the David Brookses and Chris Buckleys of the world in 2008 about” Obama’s “first-class temperament”, Rand Simberg, for example, quipped, “It’s hard to take anything they tell us seriously, at this point.” (Via Instapundit.)
In another post commenting how “glum” he was in his presser, Rubin found it yet another example of his difficulty in facing defeat. In “his post-election “shellacking” press conference,” Rubin observed, “he became peevish.”
Rubin’s former Commentary Contentions colleague Peter Wehner notes the contradictions in Obama’s campaign image and his record in office:
It appears to me that Obama is a man of tremendous internal contradictions. He fancies himself as a post-partisan, post-ideological figure who alone can elevate public discourse. He obviously took great pride in presenting himself as America’s Socrates during the presidential campaign.
At the same time, Mr. Obama is a man of unusual arrogance who, if things don’t go his way, becomes prickly. He lashes out. And he begins to feel sorry for himself. Notoriously thin-skinned and accustomed to worshipful treatment by those around him (including the press), Obama is now clearly disquieted.
Things have changed in Washington. And the president doesn’t seem to have developed a strategy to respond to that change and look presidential at the same time.