[Posted by Karl]
The sort of thing neighbors tell the local news after a murderer is discovered has become the sort of thing the chattering classes now write about Pres. Obama.
Over the weekend, the WaPo’s Scott Wilson wrote:
This president endures with little joy the small talk and back-slapping of retail politics, rarely spends more than a few minutes on a rope line, refuses to coddle even his biggest donors. His relationship with Democrats on Capitol Hill is frosty, to be generous. Personal lobbying on behalf of legislation? He prefers to leave that to Vice President Biden, an old-school political charmer.
Wilson’s WaPo colleague, Chris Cillizza, picked up on the theme:
Time and again in our reporting over the last few months, this strain of thinking has come up — and the deeper President Obama’s political troubles grow, the more often we hear it.
In the wake of President Obama’s press conference last Thursday, there was considerable skepticism — bordering on contempt — for his assertion that now was the time for the Senate to pass his jobs bill.
And, this morning the New York Times’ John Harwood wrote that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) views White House chief of staff Bill Daley as “ham handed” and that leading Democrats believe that “Team Obama’s zeal for secrets creates more problems than it solves.” Message. Sent.
One veteran Democratic campaign operative put it more bluntly when asked to assess Obama’s approach: “He just hates politics and politicians.”
At the NYP, Michael Goodwin paints an even bleaker portrait of the Obama presidency:
The reports are not good, disturbing even. I have heard basically the same story four times in the last 10 days, and the people doing the talking are in New York and Washington and are spread across the political spectrum.
The gist is this: President Obama has become a lone wolf, a stranger to his own government. He talks mostly, and sometimes only, to friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett and to David Axelrod, his political strategist.
Everybody else, including members of his Cabinet, have little face time with him except for brief meetings that serve as photo ops. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner both have complained, according to people who have talked to them, that they are shut out of important decisions.
If the reports are accurate, and I believe they are, they paint a picture of an isolated man trapped in a collapsing presidency. While there is no indication Obama is walking the halls of the White House late at night, talking to the portraits of former presidents, as Richard Nixon did during Watergate, the reports help explain his odd public remarks…
Actually, Richard Reeves wrote an entire book on the Nixon presidency subtitled, “Alone in the White House.” I doubt Obama would speak to the ghosts of former presidents, as he likely thinks them inferior to him. Nor has the Gawker rumor that the New York Times was investigating whether Obama is suffering from depression come to fruition. So why all the chatter?
The simplest answer is that the chattering classes are finally admitting what the right has always known. Obama is overrated as a politician. Obama is overrated as a policy wonk. His approval ratings continue to slump. The establishment is psychically preparing itself for a possible loss in 2012. To them, progressivism cannot fail. If that means Obama is a failure, a loner, maybe not quite right in the head, so be it.