Monday, December 2, 2013

Who knows President Obama?

I'm always fascinated by people who think they know what is going on not only inside the White House, but inside President Obama's head. Unless they've spent a lot of time observing and/or interacting directly, chances are that their pontifications say more about themselves than the actual occupants of the West Wing. Case in point...Ron Fournier.
For all his strengths, Obama is a private, almost cloistered, politician surrounded by fawning aides who don't understand why anybody would object to his policies; thus they are often caught flat-footed by critics. They often put political tactics ahead of governing, protecting the president's image with narrow-minded zeal.

Obama himself has no patience for the nitty-gritty of politics and governance, which means he's both loath to build bipartisan relationships outside the White House and unlikely to directly manage a project, even one as important as Obamacare.
Its telling that the accounts from people who have actually observed President Obama or worked with him directly paint a very different picture. Take for instance the description of the President's decision-making process regarding Libya as told by observer Michael Lewis.
The idea was that the people in the meeting would debate the merits of each [a no-fly zone over Libya or do nothing], but Obama surprised the room by rejecting the premise of the meeting. “He instantly went off the road map,” recalls one eyewitness. “He asked, ‘Would a no-fly zone do anything to stop the scenario we just heard?’” After it became clear that it would not, Obama said, “I want to hear from some of the other folks in the room.”

Obama then proceeded to call on every single person for his views, including the most junior people. “What was a little unusual,” Obama admits, “is that I went to people who were not at the table. Because I am trying to get an argument that is not being made.”... His desire to hear the case raises the obvious question: Why didn’t he just make it himself? “It’s the Heisenberg principle,” he says. “Me asking the question changes the answer. And it also protects my decision-­making.” But it’s more than that. His desire to hear out junior people is a warm personality trait as much as a cool tactic, of a piece with his desire to play golf with White House cooks rather than with C.E.O.’s and basketball with people who treat him as just another player on the court; to stay home and read a book rather than go to a Washington cocktail party; and to seek out, in any crowd, not the beautiful people but the old people. The man has his stat­us needs, but they are unusual. And he has a tendency, an unthinking first step, to subvert established stat­us structures. After all, he became president.
Either you have to assume that Fournier and Lewis are talking about two completely different people, or one knows what he's talking about and the other doesn't have a clue. I know that I'll go with the actual observer over the one who is playing out some convoluted game of projection to satisfy his own ego.


  1. I'd go with the actual observer too as opposed to a journalist who has never spent a moment with the President or anyone on his team. Fournier seems to have made up some rather silly notions about the man, as if he is writing a piece of fiction about the President, not as if because he clearly is.


  2. Why do we care what Ron Fournier thinks again? Other than he's supremely entertaining in his clueless projections? Does anyone take this guy seriously?

    1. To me Fournier is simply background for an object lesson...when people write as if they know Obama, its always good to compare the description with someone who actually does.

    2. Per paraphrasing Charles Pierce, Fournier has become such a big tool, they should sell him at Home Depot. Fournier has been WRONG, WRONG, WRONG about Obama since he first won the nomination in '08. He wrongly predicted Obama's projected lead in the polls was inflated and it would be a much closer election because of the "Bradley effect." The great Al Giordiano tore Fournier to shreds over this and for his other racist writing during the campaign. But Fournier keeps blithely moving forward, unaware like a charmless Mister Magoo.

  3. "Obama himself has no patience for the nitty-gritty of politics and governance, which means he's both loath to build bipartisan relationships outside the White House..."


    No one who has ever read, listened to, heard, studied, read a dingaling Huffpo article, anything about the president's approach to governance for a nanosecond could write such a completely asinine, epically stupid and ignorant thing!

  4. Fournier has stayed mad that his guy McCain got curb-stomped by 'that one' and has written variation of the same, ignorant article every week. And Smartypants is correct: It's good excercise to contrast the made-up characterizations of the president with real world accounts


  5. "Obama himself has no patience for the nitty-gritty of politics and governance, which means he's both loath to build bipartisan relationships outside the White House..."

    Why, of course, evidence of this is passage of the ACA and successful diplomatic initiatives in Syria and Iran.