Tucker Carlson marvels at the transformation of Barack Obama from candidate to rookie President to … grumpy old man. Nothing about last night’s speech reminded Carlson of the man who ran for the office on a promise of Hope and Change. Instead, Carlson saw a man who has already turned bitter, paranoid, and inflexible after only the first serious challenge of his administration:
Never has a president been warped by Washington quicker. At times tonight, Obama sounded like an embattled second-termer with a 35 percent approval rating. What percentage of his speech was spent lashing out at his enemies, real and imagined? Radio and cable-television pundits, George W. Bush, former Congresses, unnamed ghouls employing “scare tactics,” whose “only agenda is to stop reform at any cost”—they’re all against him, Obama said. And they’re lying.
This isn’t how confident leaders speak. These are the complaints of a man on his way to bitterness. So soon?
Usually, a president has gone through a number of political battles before assuming the highest office in the nation. Most hold executive office at another level before running for the office, and have to deal with policy battles and at least occasional defeats before entering the Oval Office. They build a thicker skin, get a better sense of their strengths and limitations, and these experiences make for better presidents in the long haul.
Obama, on the other hand, has never held executive office in politics. He has spent his short political life as a legislator, and not even a particularly bold legislator. Obama was much more of a bandwagon man as a legislator, offering rhetorical instead of political leadership, and for the most part receiving nothing but warm praise bordering on tongue-baths from the media.
What Carlson sees is a man completely unprepared for the fact that he can’t sell refrigerators to Eskimos. Whether that comes from a narcissistic personality or just plain inexperience, the fact remains that Obama has reacted poorly to the rapid disintegration of his own popularity and that of his policies. Like a petulant child, Obama has assumed that the problem is that he hasn’t spoken often or loudly enough, which is one of the reasons that his speeches on health care have not changed an iota in substance but have gotten louder and angrier in tone.
Obama couldn’t sell ObamaCare, and now he wants to scold America for not agreeing with him. Carlson is right to call this bitterness, but it’s the bitterness of a man who may have been told no for the first time in his political life, and clearly doesn’t know how to react to it.