Our Perfunctory President
Despite partisan politics, divisiveness, disagreement, clashes, and opposing world views, there is finally something both parties agree on.
Just when you thought it was hopeless and there was nothing -- nothing! -- Democrats and Republicans could agree on, there is a ray of light. Members of both parties agree that Obama is "remote," "distant," and "perfunctory." Helene Cooper writes in the New York Times:
On Capitol Hill, Republicans say they rarely hear from the president, and members of his own party complain that Mr. Obama and his top aides are handicapping themselves by not reaching out enough.
...some of the president's aides acknowledge complaints from Democratic fund-raisers that they have not been shown much love from the president, beyond standard grip-and-grin photographs at fund-raising dinners.
... more often than not, he keeps Congress and official Washington at arm's length, spending his down time with a small -- and shrinking -- inner circle of aides and old friends.
Gerald Rafshoon, Jimmy Carter's communications director summed it up best:
"Some people are saying he's a recluse. You don't want that reputation. He needs to show that he likes people."
And therein lies the rub.
Obama doesn't like people. He likes himself.
He appears to have a long-standing pattern of disconnection from others. Where are the voices of those who grew up with him, went to school with him, worked with him? It is eerily quiet.
Naturally, there are those who disagree with the notion that our president is aloof.
Despite the narrative in Washington of Mr. Obama as a loner, his friends and aides say he likes people just fine. He looked positively ebullient when he worked the crowd at a hangar last Wednesday at Fort Bragg, N.C., reaching out to nearly every one of 3,000 troops returning from Iraq.
No surprises there. Obama knows how to work a crowd. Apparently, he is downright ebullient when doing so. But that is not the same thing as liking other human beings and connecting with them. Working the crowd is about his ego. And a photo op.
Obama holds himself apart.
Something about him is off kilter.
And lots of people know it.
Republicans and Democrats, alike.