Democrats are worried. Or, more precisely, they are confessing that they are worried. Politico reports:
[M]any Democrats privately say they are skeptical that Obama is self-aware enough to make the sort of dramatic changes they feel are needed – in his relations with other Democrats or in his very approach to the job. …
“This guy swept to power on a wave of adulation, and he learned the wrong lessons from that,” said a Democratic official who deals frequently with the White House. “He’s more of a movement leader than a politician. He needs someone to kick his ass on things large and small, and teach him to be a politician.”
Some of the complaints are downright petty. This one didn’t get to shake his hand and that group of senators wasn’t warmly greeted. This certainly doesn’t explain why Obama’s party is on the ropes, but it does reveal Obama to be uncommonly rude and standoffish. It is, perhaps, what comes from too much fawning over and too little criticism in one’s formative years. Moreover, it reinforces how oddly mismatched Obama is to his chosen profession; he seems neither to enjoy nor able to master the plethora of social interchanges that are essential to maintaining political support and popularity.
More critical is the evaluation of business leaders:
And business leaders, even the few who continue to be Obama-friendly, say they are convinced he is hostile to free markets and the private sector. Some of these executives have balance sheets flush with cash but are reluctant to add jobs or expand in part because they don’t trust Obama’s instincts for growth.
“He used anti-corporate, confrontational rhetoric too for legislative gain, and kept doing it after folks found it gratuitous,” a top executive said. “During health reform it was the bad, evil hospitals. … Same with financial regulation: It was fat cats, greed, corruption.”
Surrounded by yes men and bolstered by sycophantic press coverage, Obama had yet, we suppose, to receive this sort of criticism. Or if he did, he ignored it because he knew best. If he seemed bewildered at last week’s post-election press conference, you can understand why. Up to now, everything was going so well! Scary, but that’s how isolated and self-absorbed the president has been. We’ll see if he can undergo a policy and personality transformation. I’m not holding my breath.