The flat learning curve reared its ugly head again in President Obama’s post-shellacking press conference. I did not expect him to admit that the election results were a direct repudiation of his leadership, management and policies, because the man is a narcissist, and he can’t process such information. I expected him to spin the defeat as insignificant from a public will perspective, and he did, noting that only a third of the electorate bothered to vote. That is, of course, the 30% that has been paying attention.
But I was genuinely surprised that he still, still, after all this time, displayed a complete lack of comprehension of what Presidential leadership involves and has always involved since the beginning of the position two centuries ago. Persuasion. Compromise. Trading. Negotiation. Repeatedly, Obama kept saying that he was sure that he and Republicans would find “common ground.” When they did, he said, things would get done. He made it clear, however, that if he didn’t agree that a policy measure was in the best interests of the country or wouldn’t work, he would block it.
This is madness. It may sound reasonable to civicly ignorant casual observers of the government, as is most of the President’s supporters, but that characterization of how laws get made and a system of checks and balances works would produce a D in any political science course in any junior college in America. The President is obviously intelligent. I presume he’s read about the Presidency….I don’t know, maybe he hasn’t. Is it possible that he doesn’t know that every President made deals with hostile legislators that resulted in laws that President detested, in exchange for moving along policies that were worth the sacrifice? How can he not comprehend this, after six years? The man is President of the United States, and after six years, he still thinks the job is about giving orders and making decrees.
It is really shocking. Every experienced politician in D.C. of either party must have been gulping and thinking, “What’s the matter with this guy?” It’s a mystery. He’s incompetent and way, way over his head, yes, of course. But why doesn’t he learn? He wants to be successful: can’t he figure out how? Or is it really a matter of pathological incapacity?
After being stunned at this revelation—I really am slow sometimes—that Obama will never understand the skills and techniques his job demands, failing his nation, his party and himself as a result, I was bolstered by the reaction of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, which as essentially the same as mine. Matthews has gone over to the dark side, but once he used his sharp political instincts and practical training at the knee of Tip O’Neill to enlighten the public. Now and then the old Matthews shines through the left-wing, race-baiting zealot he is paid to portray on TV (maybe Chris owes the Mob or something), and this was one of those times. Obama’s flat learning curve infuriated him.
“Dammit, you cannot run a government on common ground!” Matthews cried. “He misses the point of politics, which is to be a politician and to trade!”
Yup. After six years as President, he misses the point of politics.
Flat, flat, flat. You cannot get more incompetent than this.