I’m currently reading Ron Suskind’s ‘Confidence Men’, and the feeling settling in is that President Obama is, among other things, a victim of his own poor staffing choices. How does a man who is the pride of black people, pick almost none to operate at senior levels at his White House? How does a man who preached hope and change pick deregulator Larry Summers as his trusted advisor?
That the banks were deemed “too big to fail” enraged both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, but if Obama had brought in Volcker at Treasury, he could’ve quieted those voices by nationalizing the banks, and euthanizing those that weren’t solvent. All of this could’ve been foreseen, so why didn’t Obama see it?
I think Obama thought he knew more than he actually did. Obama had a lay of the land, but by the time he ran for president, he’d been in D.C. what? A couple of years? That’s not long enough to learn what you need to learn and build the relationships you need to build in order to be effective. And he didn’t enter politics with a resume of executive leadership, as presidents who’ve served as governors do. So all the mistakes that governors make during their first couple of years in the state capitol were made by Obama at the White House.
So, as someone said, Obama was managed into insignificance. That doesn’t let him off the hook because a bigger, bolder, more secure man could’ve taken some chances that probably would’ve paid off in the end. But Obama is none of those things. He’s a charmer… and charmers aren’t accustomed to fighting the big fights. People normally warm to their smiles and good cheer. Mitch McConnell was having none of it.
Through it all, you just get the feel that Obama believed his own bullshit..that if he’d really understood the Clinton Wars, he would’ve been at least armed and ready for battle. But he believed that bullshit speech he gave at the convention in 2004. It’s one thing to sell bullshit. All politicians do it. But to believe is a politician’s undoing.