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.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.
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.
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.”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.
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.