Barack Obama

Popping Obama's Bubble: Don't Count on It Any More Than You Can Count on a Federal Budget

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Via Instapundit comes a link to Stephen L. Carter's Bloomberg column on President Barack Obama's separation from day-to-day life. Carter cites journalist Kenneth Walsh's work on how White House occupants are getting more and more isolated from anyone who might offer a discouraging or disturbing glimplse of reality.

Walsh, analyzing the presidencies from FDR's on, gives high marks to Clinton and Ronald Reagan, gregarious and cheerful men whose outgoing personalities set a tone that allowed them more frequent escapes from the bubble. Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, in Walsh's telling, barely even tried. For Barack Obama, writes Walsh, the struggle to stay close to the public has been made difficult in part by a staff that shunts aside advisers who "shake him up too much."

Read more.

Carter's main practical suggestion seems a bit silly—get out and shake more hands, like presidents of the past and popes of the current moment. To which Instapundit replies, "I don't think it'll work. Fundamentally, Obama's entire life has been a bubble."

There's some real truth to that, I think, and it seems as if Carter would agree with Instapundit.

I don't particularly care about a president's ability to mix with the common man or backslap or anything like that. But Obama's incredible unwillingness to finish up the most basic functions of government—such completing the budget process on a regular basis—speaks to a serious disconnect with everyday life, I think. His recent New York Times interview, in which he blames everybody but himself for all the ills of the world, is a pretty stunning indictment of his inability or unwillingness to lead if it means actually having to negotiate and argue for your point of view. Getting a budget—any budget—through shouldn't be a second thought, and Obama can't pawn off responsibility for it on the GOP (his Senate Democrats are the real malingerers for the most part and he has abetted them by not kicking ass).

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  1. it’s one banana, how much could it cost, $10?

  2. …”Obama can’t pawn off responsibility for it on the GOP”…

    Oh, yes he can; just read the ravings of our resident idiots. BUUUSH!

    1. I continue to be astonished by the denial among my Democrat friends. Supposedly Obama is trying hard, but the legacy of Bush and today’s evil and uncooperative Republicans is too much to overcome. If only Obama got everything he wanted immediately, all would be well.

      1. Strangely enough, that’s exactly what Obama says, too.

        1. If only Obama got everything he wanted immediately, all would be well.

          And strangely enough this is exactly what happened.

          Stimulus? Check.
          Bailout GM? Check.
          Unending QE? Check.
          Shovel Edupork at our nation’s hero-educators? Check.
          Take credit for ending DADT while simultaneously doing everything possible to uphold it? Check.
          Obamacare? Check.
          Take credit for being better on the WoD while simultaneously prosecuting it as hard as ever? Check.

          He HAS gotten everything he wanted, yet everything is still the Republicans’ fault.

          1. True, but that’s not how TEAM BLUE partisans see it.

  3. Next we’re going to be treated to images of Obama clearing brush off his ranch.

  4. Being confined with the Wookie for 12 parsecs would make anyone a little bit crazy.

  5. “… get out and shake more hands,…”

    If he would just get out and campaign a liiiitttle more, it will all start working.

  6. He was elected president when he couldn’t even grasp liability insurance. I don’t think shaking hands is going to help.

  7. At this point, I doubt it is possible for someone who isn’t an extreme narcissist and megalomaniac to even win the presidency. The media, the special interests, and even the public make that so.

    1. I think you can be a narcissist and still understand life outside your own skin. Obama appears to not only be the farthest thing from a people person, he also seems to lack the understanding it takes to empathize with the concerns of others.

      I actually believe Clinton had the capacity, the intellectual curiosity to feel my pain, even if it was just a brief diversionary exercise for him.

      1. So you’re saying he’s a sociopath. I don’t disagree; I would have called him a megalomaniac, however.

      2. I actually believe Clinton had the capacity, the intellectual curiosity to feel my pain, even if it was just a brief diversionary exercise for him.

        At least Clinton had some credibility when he said that, given he grew up in working-class surroundings and in many ways was a self-made man as far as his education and political career was concerned. Obama, on the other hand, has largely been carried up the social ladder his whole life by guilty white liberals. When he says, “you didn’t build that,” it’s because he can’t imagine someone accomplishing something without being enabled by others.

        1. When he says, “you didn’t build that,” it’s because he can’t imagine someone accomplishing something without being enabled by others.

          This.

  8. Would we really even WANT to pop that bubble? It’s so full of excrement and the resulting shit wave would take out the entire east coast.

    1. And the downside of that?

      1. Kristen and a few others I like are on the east coast.

        Besides, a shitwave of that magnitude would probably gain sentience and become some sort of Golgothanesque overlord. Wait, that may actually be an improvement

  9. My dad thinks this fuck is going go down as a great president. I told my dad I hope he lives long enough for me to feed him his words.

    1. You mean up there with Wilson and FDR? No, that wouldn’t surprise me.

    2. I remember learning in Russian History that the names ‘Ivan the Great’ and ‘Ivan the Terrible’ meant pretty much the same to the natives. The difference was one of subtle degree and not of kind as translated to the Western European perspective.

      My designations according to classical form:
      FDR the Lame, Wilson the Terrible, and Obama the Imbecile.

  10. His recent New York Times interview, in which he blames everybody but himself for all the ills of the world, is a pretty stunning indictment of his inability or unwillingness to lead if it means actually having to negotiate and argue for your point of view.

    No, never ever being wrong about anything is a classic sign of a sociopath. If everybody around you is regarded with the same attachment you might feel for a chair or a potted plant, why would you ever admit that the chair or plant is right and you are wrong?

    1. That theory has credence, prole.

    2. I despise the guy, but I don’t buy into the sociopath angle. Not being able to admit failures or acknowledge mistakes, is also quite typical of spoiled teenagers, just simple emotional immaturity. I think the bubble of academia and having been mollycoddled since youth are the cause.

      1. I think the bubble of academia and having been mollycoddled since youth are the cause of his sociopathology. Normal, functioning adults don’t have Dronekill Tuesday Afternoons in their weekly planners.

      2. And garden-variety narcissists.

      3. Here we have the basic reason Obama even won his party’s nomination:

        Hilary’s tag line (then, not the “What difference does it make?” of today): “It takes a village”. Which implies residents of said village have some responsibility.

        Obama’s m.o. was/is basically “It’s always someone else’s fault.”

        Not hard to figure out which message would resonate with American voters.

  11. I wonder how long the CEO of a public traded company would last if he exhibited the same executive skills of Our Glorious Leader? Even if a “kept Board” allowed it, the stock would plummet so low the Street would demand action.

  12. He truly has no grasp of the concept of leadership (among other things).

  13. The man, like most, is an idiot. No further analysis needed.

  14. it’s not unwillingness on Obama’s part, it’s inability. Nothing this man ever did put him in a position to push things through, to persuade the reluctant, to change legislation to win converts, to do anything beyond hear himself speak. There is a reason most POTUS have been governors; they have had some background with dealing with members of either party and with the sausage-making process.

    1. Very true.

  15. Does anybody really believe he would permit himself to come into physical contact with the peasantry?

  16. nothing is more monarchical than the increasing physical separation between the man who holds the office and the people on whose behalf he serves.

    A president “serves” on my “behalf” in precisely the same way a local mafia chief serves on my behalf.

  17. For Barack Obama, writes Walsh, the struggle to stay close to the public has been made difficult in part by a staff that shunts aside advisers who “shake him up too much.”

    Yeah. It’s those darned staffers holding him prisoner in the palace.

    1. They’re probably all Republicans.

    2. If only his staff would protect us from him…

    3. If only the czar knew!

  18. I have been searching for some information about it almost three hours.

  19. I wonder how long the CEO of a public traded company would last if he exhibited the same executive skills of Our Glorious Leader?

    Home Depot eventually wised up and heaved Nardelli over the side.

    Thank Cthulu for term limits.

  20. So is the White House more like Versailles, or the Forbidden City in its insulation from the woes of the peasants?

    1. Well Louis IX was a political genius so I’m gonna go with the latter.

  21. Obama’s incredible unwillingness to finish up the most basic functions of government – such completing the budget process on a regular basis – speaks to a serious disconnect with everyday life, I think.

    That applies to most people in government, these days. Basic functions go ignored, while there’s a new super-cool fun project every week. It’s the classic sign of an lazy dreamer – nevermind what I said I was going to do yesterday, check out my new awesome idea today!

  22. It’s a little hard to set-up, but follow me for a moment.

    Weigel in Slate is watching Sorkin’s Newsroom, an amazingly mendacious and strawman/Mary Sue concoction of weapons-grade nonsense, and commenting on it.

    Here’s is a complaint on the 3rd episode.

    DW: Sure, that was risible, but to end where we started … I sort of respect what Sorkin’s doing there. There is, indeed, some sort of airborne virus that gets reporters largely working from the same script and getting annoyed if another reporter interlopes and asks an off-the-wall question. The desire for more questions that deviate from the script, that makes sense, and any human should want that. Now, Jim happened to be horrible at that in a way that made good TV, possibly because he took this assingment to channel his emasculation by a colleague into a paid-for hero’s journey through New Hampshire. But the instinct is sound.

    Given his involvement in Journolist, I submit this as a contender for the most un-self-reflective quote of 2013.

    1. possibly because he took this assingment to channel his emasculation by a colleague into a paid-for hero’s journey through New Hampshire.

      You think maybe Kat Mangu-Ward had to put the little rat fucker in his place a time or two?

  23. He’s a repellent combination of an invincible ignoramus who thinks he knows everything, and a crybaby who loses his shit if someone dares to tell him he can’t get what he wants 100% of the time.

    The sequestration was the first time in his presidency that he agreed to compromise with the opposition on any issue, and he and his people are still publicly throwing a world class hissy fit over it, even though it’s a giant nothingburger.

    1. In a lot of ways he is the first Millenial president because it is pretty clear that he has gone through his whole life without anyone telling him that he screwed up or was wrong or was anything less than special. He also never really had to accomplish anything and so there was never any risk of failure forcing introspection on him.

      So he was able to combine a touch of intelligence and charisma with a touch of ruthlesness aided by a mixed racial background and upperclass upbringing to put himself in a place where he was the smartest socially acceptable black person in the room everywhere he went and people fawned over him for it.

      From there it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, continuing that ruthlesness against his political opponents and he could march right up to the oval office without ever really having to think about or justify his political beliefs and he hasn’t got the slightest clue how to defend them and has accepted them as such an article of faith that he couldn’t question them if he wanted to at this point.

  24. Weigel in Slate is watching Sorkin’s Newsroom, an amazingly mendacious and strawman/Mary Sue concoction of weapons-grade nonsense, and commenting on it.

    He’s probably just trying to figure out who’s playing the role of Dave Weigel, Supergenius!

  25. the struggle to stay close to the public has been made difficult in part by a staff that shunts aside advisers who “shake him up too much.”

    So Obama is like a grown up Lord Robert Arryn? “Edward Snowden is a bad little man. Can I make him fly? I want to see him fly.”

    1. “I wished Romney into the cornfield. And if Bernanke doesn’t obey, I’m gonna wish him into the cornfield, too!”

    2. No, just a Joffrey.

  26. Why is this complicated? He’s a not extremely competent guy (but more intelligent than the run of the mill; even “stupid” presidents are) who got lucky because of his racial and other cx, and he’s got the job another 3.5 yrs. with no opp’ty for further advancement. There isn’t a lot he can do for himself, there are practically no strings anyone can pull to make him sacrifice anything to do favors for them, even if they’re owed them.

    We’ve seen this before: Harry Truman.

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