Remember back in the days when Barack Obama was promising a new kind of politics, that his supporters promised he would, through sheer force of his personality, transform the partisan divides which polarized our discourse and usher in a new age of civility. The Democrat, many claimed, had a “both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament.”
He would rise above petty bickering and, in his own words, help “break [that] pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.”
Only problem Obama didn’t have much of a record acting in the way he had promised to. And four years and three months as president have shown him to be quite the opposite of the transcendent leader he promised to be. He, for example, blames others for his failures, whines about the problems he has to face, and questions the motives of his ideological adversaries.
Nowhere is this more manifest than in his public speeches and press conferences. And he showed his peevish streak in his press conference earlier this week when he refused to take responsibility for his failure to compromise with Congress, responding to a question about his clout with Congress by saying that the questioner seemed ” to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job.”
Yea, but, did this guy who wasn’t supposed to transcend political differences and want to break the blame-game that pervades in the nation’s capital reach out to Congress and try to avoid the sequester (which the journalist mentioned in his question)? Couldn’t he, with his “first-class temperament” have managed to prod congressional leaders often at loggerheads to hammer out a compromise.
As James Taranto, in commenting on Tuesday’s press conference his Best of the Web column yesterday, put it:
. . . governing or legislating is more complicated. It requires both compromise and persuasion–the ability to yield to your adversaries and to make them feel it is in their interest to yield to you. It also requires a practical sense of both how your ideas will go over politically, how to make them go over favorably, and how they will actually work in practice.
Obama is sorely lacking in all these skills–which even his detractors must acknowledge makes his re-election an impressive feat.
To a very large extent then, Barack Obama lacks the very skills he purported to have in his bid for the White House, the very skills which would supposedly set him apart from the polarizing politics that needed changing. [Read more…]