Obama in a bubble of his own making

The temptation when you work in the White House as president is to close yourself in, shutting out the world beyond the gates, with the hubristic belief in your own perfection. After all, you made it all the way to the White House - what does the rest of the world know that can help you?

Good presidents always have one or two aides that will disabuse him of his own brilliance. They try to cut through the staff sycophants and yes men in order to present the real world to the president - warts and all. But apparently, Obama's arrogance extends to his inner circle as well.

John Hielermann:

Few perceptions were more widely shared or loudly voiced around Washington than that the Obamans were huffing their own fumes. "You know the cliché about our strengths being our weaknesses? It's true for them as well," says a top political strategist in a previous White House. "I think they felt like if they had listened to conventional wisdom in 2007, they never would have run. When they hear criticism, they say, ‘Been there, done that, we're gonna stay the course.' There's almost a Zen-like quality about how they've been in their own universe and their own bubble."

The more pointed variant of this critique was directed specifically at Obama. Unlike 42-who loved to stay up late, jabbing at the speed dial, spending countless hours gabbing with local pols and businesspeople around the country to gauge the political wind and weather-44 not only eschewed reaching out to governors, mayors, or CEOs, but he rarely consulted outside the tiny charmed circle surrounding him in the White House. "What you had was really three or four people running the entire government," says the former White House strategist. "I thought they put a pretty good Cabinet together, but most of those guys might as well be in the witness-protection program."

A funny line, no doubt, but an overstatement, surely? Well, maybe not. "I happen to know most of the Cabinet pretty well, and I get together with them individually for lunch," says one of the most respected Democratic bigwigs in Washington. "I've had half a dozen Cabinet members say that in the first two years, they never had one call-not one call-from the president."

(H/T: Hot Air )

Cabinet members have been reduced to glorified PR people for their departments over the years so I am not concerned that the president hasn't talked with the Secretary of Commerce or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. They don't run those departments anyway - their assistant secretaries do the job.

What is much more troubling is the president's failure to reach out and discover what the rest of the country really thinks of his policies. That kind of myopia leads to bad government - which is what we have now. And Obama shows no signs of changing.

The State of the Union speech tonight will probably sound strange to most of us because of this disconnect.

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