So concludes Michael Barone in his Saturday column as he considers Ryan Lizza’s recent New Yorker piece on the president:
Now, in an article based on leaked White House memos marked up by Obama, Lizza has done it again [writing “a story that makes his subject look bad”]
Contrarian liberal blogger Mickey Kaus sums it up: “The president’s decision-making method–at least as described in this piece–seems to consist of mainly checking boxes on memos his aides have written for him.”
A $60 billion cut in the stimulus package? “OK.” Use the reconciliation process to pass the health care bill? A check mark in the box labeled “yes.”
Include medical malpractice reform in the health care bill? The man who as an Illinois legislator often voted “present” writes, “We should explore it.”
According to Lizza, Obama prefers getting information and making decisions by staying up late and reading memos rather than meeting with people — a temperament that’s a liability because face time with the president is one of his major sources of political capital.
Read the whole thing. Barone notes further than Lizza provides “minimal” evidence that “that Obama ever seriously considered Republican approaches”, adding “Obama seems to live in a cocoon in which Republicans are largely absent, offscreen actors that no one pays any attention to.”
The impression I had reading Barone’s piece yesterday and Kaus’s piece (via Instapundit) last week is that Obama doesn’t really like being president. When Clinton faced off against a Republican Congress in the second half of his first term, he delighted in the game. Obama stays aloof from it.
Sometimes, it seems, the Democrat doesn’t want a second term as president, but instead just to be vindicated at the polls.