Whom is President Obama really listening to?
Like some of you, I've wondered about President Obama's inner circle. I am not talking about the people with titles or all of "suits" who move around with him from one place to another.
In other words, whom does he go to for advice, for geopolitical thinking or just plain common sense? Whom does he speak confidentially with? Does he call, say, President Bush-41 and get some thoughts about putting together a coalition? Has he spoken to President Bush-43 about shifting strategies, like the surge of 2007? Has he spoken to President Clinton about revamping his administration, as we saw after 1994?
I was not happy to hear this from Charles Krauthammer on The Hugh Hewitt Show. Needless to say, Mr. Krauthammer is someone I respect a great deal. His comments left me speechless:
HH: All right, last question, over the weekend, or over the last few days, David Petraeus, General James Mattis and George W. Bush all found forums in which to try and push the President towards acting decisively. These are three men who have not said anything publicly about the President. Do you think that helps nudge him? Or does he resent that they are doing so?
CK: I don’t think it affects him either way. The man lives in a cocoon surrounded by sycophants. There’s not anyone of independent stature around him. There was in the first term, because he needed them to prop him up. But now that he entered a second term, he’s the master of the universe, so there’s nobody around him. He is impervious to outside advice, real advice that he takes. Why doesn’t he talk to Henry Kissinger? Why doesn’t he talk to George Schultz? And Petraeus was the one who did what we have to do, which is to turn the Sunnis around. He did that in ’08 and ’09, and Obama then said that he pretended that nothing had happened. No, I don’t think Obama can be reached. I think he’ll have to come to his own decision. And I think what brought him to his own decision to do anything at all was the switch in public opinion. It was not a switch in strategy. I guarantee you that if we hadn’t had the televised beheadings, Obama would never have announced the policy he did.
My fear is that Mr. Obama does not think that he has to come "to his own decision." Why do you do that when you are surrounded by lightweights who are more likely to chant "yes we can" than to say "you're wrong, Mr. President"?