I thought of that experience when Kevin Drum asked an interesting question.
I'm perplexed by [Bob] Woodward these days. He really seems to have some kind of weird jones against the Obama White House. I can't quite figure out where it comes from.If my little State Capitol is filled with insatiable egos, I can only imagine what it looks like in Washington DC - not just when it comes to politicians, but journalists like Bob Woodward and the general culture of the place. Its what happens to many people when they're given a certain amount of power.
We've been watching President Obama for long enough now that its become clear that he's not very interested in the kind of ego-stroking that a place like DC has come to expect and demand. We hear the whining about that pretty regularly on all fronts. That's where I'd go to answer Drum's question.
I can imagine that some of the way this gets reported to us is true...President Obama probably looks on the whole culture that has developed with a kind of disdain. As politicians and journalists assume that the way to get anything done is to have their egos stroked in the process, they lose touch with what it is they were sent there to do. When we talk about the "DC bubble," that's how it would be defined.
Many of us knew that in electing President Obama we were sending someone into that bubble who wasn't interested in playing the game. So let's not be surprised when we hear the whining from those who are so terribly disturbed that he's opting out of it all. When someone like Woodward lashes out at the President because he's gotten his feelings hurt, its a sign that Obama is doing just what we sent him there to do.
UPDATE: Noam Scheiber reviewed Bob Woodward's book The Price of Politics. He pretty much nails a response to Drum's question.
There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.In other words, the black guy didn't pay his proper respects to the white good-ole-boys club.