That’s no small order. And it’s not because the Benghazi terror attack, the IRS targeting and the Justice Department snooping on The Associated Press all happened on his watch.
If it were a matter of bad luck, he would be a hapless but sympathetic president. The problem is that all three scandals reflect his views, policies and personnel. He wanted a big, activist government to transform the nation. He got it, and now his chickens are coming home to roost.
You would never know that from his reaction to the national uproar. His instinct is to see everything through a political prism, and the scandal trifecta is no exception. To him, politics explains the sun rise.
“My thinking was when we beat them in 2012, that might break the fever, and it’s not quite broken yet,” Obama told a group of celebrity donors in New York Monday night.“I genuinely believe there are Republicans out there who would like to work with us, but they’re fearful of their base, and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them. And as a consequence, we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government.”
There you have his worldview in a nutshell. His presidency is at a crossroads, and he thinks it’s Rush Limbaugh’s fault and the other side has a “fever.” If only he had more power, people wouldn’t be cynical about government. Talk about scary visions.
Not incidentally, the IRS agents putting the screws on conservative groups shared his disdain for them.
Unfortunately, because he beats the Limbaugh drum so often, we must assume Obama is sincere. That makes him a man who believes the presidency is a matter of “us against them” and who holds a bunkered mentality more fit for sports and gangs than the Oval Office.
His self-grandiosity doesn’t permit the normal give-and-take of governing. He’s trapped, crippled really, by the view that politics is a zero-sum game.
And so, faced with a problem, any problem, he invariably heads back to the campaign trail in the desperate hope that the next election will give him the blank check he needs to function. Without it, he’s lost.
But blank checks are, like wizards, fantasies better suited to childhood. Especially now, America needs a president willing and able to grow up and deal with the real world.
We’ll know soon enough whether we have one.