Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What a Democrat says about Obama

There is an amazing essay in The Hill by Democrat Representative Dennis Cardoza of California blasting President Obama's leadership and guessing that Obama would prefer to be a professor rather than the nation's leader. He criticizes the administration in its early deays for "idea disease" for throwing out a new idea every couple of days so that there was no prioritization of what was important and no follow through.

Then there was the President's arrogant, professorial attitude towards others.
Early in his administration, President/Professor Obama repeatedly referred to “teaching moments.” He would admonish staff, members of Congress and the public, in speeches and in private, about what they could learn from him. Rather than the ideological or corrupt “I’m above the law” attitudes of some past administrations, President Obama projected an arrogant “I’m right, you’re wrong” demeanor that alienated many potential allies. Furthermore, the president concentrated power within the White House, leaving Cabinet members with no other option but to dutifully carry out policies with which they had limited input in crafting and might very well disagree.
But it seemed just fine for the White House staff to be ignoring outside advice because they were convinced that they knew everything they needed to know and didn't need to understand how their policies would appear to and affect ordinary Americans.
One former administration official told me directly that the people in the White House “NEVER TALK TO REAL PEOPLE.” Another former Obama staffer confided to me that it was clear to him that the president didn’t mind giving speeches (lectures), but really avoided personal contact with members of Congress and folks outside the Beltway. “He doesn’t seem to derive energy from spending time with regular people the way Clinton did. He rallies to give speeches for the big crowds, but avoids individual contact,” the former staffer recalled. This “arms-length” attitude extends to top decision-makers in the president’s administration. A senior housing official recently told me that, despite the fact that he was responsible for crafting policies to stem the foreclosure crisis, he had personally never met with a homeowner who had been foreclosed on.
Why meet the ordinary folks when this philosopher kings and his coterie know so much better what needs to be done. They have the wisdom to run the American banking, car, housing, and energy industries. They know the exact tinkering that must be done to figure out the economy and figure they can control everything from Washington. Why should they need to talk to anyone else whether it be "regular people" or other Democratic politicians who, like Cardoza, have not felt the love from the administration.

It's a measure of how weak Obama is as a leader that one of his own allies would publish such a column. He never would have done this when Obama was running high on his media-fueled Messiah campaign. That would have come across as suicidal blasphemy. Today it's just easily understandable criticism that a Democratic congressman feels comfortable in delivering publicly.

6 comments:

tfhr said...

“One former administration official told me directly that the people in the White House 'NEVER TALK TO REAL PEOPLE.'”

And this is a surprise? How else can policies so detached from reality be formed? Besides, the last time Obama got too close to a regular person he spouted, "Spread the wealth!", and that bit of unguarded insight into his political philosophy runs counter to "REAL PEOPLE" that don't embrace socialist tenents.

stan said...

You don't meet too many real people shopping for arugula at Whole Foods.

tfhr said...

stan,

On the other hand, when you've escaped the White House menu by going to Five Guys with your bestest buddy, Brian Williams, you do get to show that you have met some actual real people but then something like this happens:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0509/In_which_the_president_discovers_an_American_intelligence_agency_at_Five_Guys.html

Again, no surprise from a guy that claims to have sat for twenty years in Rev. Wright's church and didn't notice anything untoward about his racist, hateful rants, but you'd think he would know who provides him with critical intelligence products.

Pat Patterson said...

The grain of salt is that Representative Cardoza announced his retirement last October. Plus the only reason he held the 18th CD was that it had been jerrymandered in the 60's and again in 2000 to keep its historical Republican majority spread out in several other districts. It's easy to speak truth to power when there are no consequences such as a truly inflamed WH or the fact that his district was again Republican majority as of 2000.

Pat Patterson said...

Should have read as of 2010.

Pat Patterson said...

One of the hallmarks of Plato's philosopher king was that they only could exist in a perfect society yet in practical matters all of them served in the hoplite phalanx at one time or the other. The perfectability of man was already established and the philospher-king was thus to guide it not create it.