In his year-end interview with National Public Radio, President Obama continued to argue that the threat posed to us and our allies by the Islamic State is exaggerated, amplified by the media and that the president’s strategy is pretty much perfect.
“The truth is that the approach that we are taking is one that’s based on the best counsel and best advice of our top military, top intelligence, top diplomatic teams,” according to Obama. “And we are going after ISIL effectively. We are going after them hard. And we are confident that we are going to prevail.” The president continues to believe the Islamic State is contained, and you half-expected him to refer to it as the “jayvee team.” But no president could possibly be that foolish, right?
In the course of the interview, the president was self-critical only in this respect:
Now on our side, I think that there is a legitimate criticism of what I’ve been doing and our administration has been doing in the sense that we haven’t, you know, on a regular basis I think described all the work that we’ve been doing for more than a year now to defeat ISIL… And so part of our goal here is to make sure that people are informed about all the actions that we’re taking.
This is a persistent pattern with Obama. In assessing the unpopularity of his health-care reform, Obama believed he wasn’t pursuing an effective enough communications strategy, despite the fact that in the summer of 2009, it was “all Obama, all the time,” in the words of the Washington Post. He tried several public-relations offensives, but nothing worked. In September 2011, in an interview with Emmett Miller of BET, the president was asked what he would have done differently in the previous three years. Among the things the president said was this:
The other thing that you know as I reflect on it is that in the first year or so we spent a lot of time just doing the right thing and not worrying about selling what we were doing. And I think that the more you’re in this office, the more you have to say to yourself that telling a story to the American people is just as important as the actual policies that you’re implementing. And they’ve got to have a sense of where it is that we’re going to go, particularly during hard times.
This is always Obama’s explanation: He’s wonderful, his programs are fantastic successes, there’s nothing he has done wrong or needs to change. The problem is that the American people, slightly dim-witted and misled by the pervasive, suffocating dominance of conservative media in America, are blind to Obama’s stunning historical achievements. His only failure is that he’s focused too much on “just doing the right thing” and not enough on telling his story. You know Obama; he always spends too little time broadcasting his own world-historical achievements.
This is utter nonsense, of course, the delusional excuses of a narcissistic chief executive who constantly feels under appreciated. Obama’s failures are objective failures. They have nothing to do with a problem in communication; it has everything to do with a failure in substance, in conception and execution, in reality.
Yet Obama, operating in his own bubble, surrounded by courtiers and sycophants, believes in his own greatness. He not only doesn’t accept responsibility for his own missteps and mistakes; he cannot even process the information. It doesn’t compute. His mind is as brittle as his personality can be bristly. No one is to challenge the great and mighty Obama.
But the last seven years has been the curtain being pulled back on Obama time and time again. His failures are in plain sight, they are massive and multiplying, and yet our president is off in his own little world, where his strategy to defeat the Islamic State is going swimmingly, like clockwork, without a hitch. To watch this charade unfold is at once psychologically fascinating and utterly depressing. And dangerous, too.
The day Obama leaves the presidency can’t come soon enough.