Things have gotten so bad for the Democrats in the wake of the mosque/Ground Zero controversy that respected political observers like Charlie Cook are speculating that Obama’s actions might only be explained by a strange indifference to his re-election. According to Cook:
Just over a year ago, a Democratic congressional leadership staffer who had sat in on a number of closed-door meetings between President Obama and Democratic members of Congress told me something to the effect of, “I know this isn’t true and sounds naïve, but listening to the president in these meetings, you’d think he really doesn’t care if he gets re-elected or not.”
While I acknowledge that someone who gets elected to the U.S. Senate and the presidency is by definition extremely competitive and has a healthy desire to win, the words of that staffer have frequently come back to mind. Most recently, I thought of them following the president’s decision to weigh in on the proposal to build a Muslim mosque and cultural center in lower Manhattan, not far from Ground Zero.
Cook goes on to write:
At the risk of sounding like an unlicensed psychoanalyst, it seems that President Obama is so supremely self-confident, so self-assured of the righteousness of his positions, that perhaps he believes if he does what he thinks is best and lets the chips fall where they may, everything will eventually work out. And, if it doesn’t, well, he’ll still think he did the right thing anyway.
This is the most favorable gloss that can be put on this interpretation; and when stated like this, there’s something to be admired in Obama’s approach. But there is also danger in it as well. For right now, everything is not working out; in fact, things are getting worse on almost every front. Yet Obama appears to be too ideological, too set in his ways, to adjust to events and to reality. He appears to have boundless faith in himself and his worldview; he is convinced he will succeed, come what may. Call it a Faith-Based Presidency.
The president, therefore, seems unable to process the (massive) incoming evidence that his approach is not working. He is a great, world-historical figure — and yet our situation is fraying. This is creating a form of cognitive dissonance. And so he and his aides and supporters must blame others — his predecessor, the GOP, cable news, “structural factors,” a “communications problem,” our political culture, our political system, and even the American people. As his presidency skids, Obama has become obsessed with finding scapegoats.
True conservatism, it has been said, is the negation of ideology. Obama’s brand of liberalism is the epitome of it. He may not bend — but the Democrats, about to be administered an epic comeuppance, eventually will. At some point soon, they will conclude that enough of them have been sacrificed at the altar of Obamaism.