The perfect companion vid to Jay Cost’s analysis this morning of how unusually, relentlessly partisan The One’s rhetoric has been as president, especially in his weekly YouTube messages. Oh, and also to Politico’s round-up of Democrats wondering why someone who’s so often touted as a brilliantly eloquent orator can’t seem to sell the public on anything except his own personal awesomeness. (Headline: “The ‘meh’ of a salesman.”) As usual, Nancy is eye-to-eye with reality.
Silver lining: A reporter asking a big-name Democrat why righties dislike Obama is almost always bait to accuse them of racism. She doesn’t take it. Second look at Pelosi?
Throughout a 50-minute interview on Thursday in her second-floor Capitol office, where the late Speaker Tip O’Neill used to receive supplicants, Pelosi was sharply derisive about the scorn Republicans have for this president.
“You know why it is,” she said. “You know why it is. He’s brilliant, … he thinks in a strategic way in how to get something done … and he’s completely eloquent. That’s a package that they don’t like.”…
Then she added a line that she has used before, that drives Republicans batty: “He has been … open, practically apolitical, certainly nonpartisan, in terms of welcoming every idea and solution. I think that’s one of the reasons the Republicans want to take him down politically, because they know he is a nonpartisan president, and that’s something very hard for them to cope with.”
“Practically apolitical” — the guy who couldn’t bear to cancel his speech Monday dumping on Republicans over the financial crisis while the rest of the country was waiting to see how bad the massacre at the Navy Yard would be. And while normally I’d cut her slack on grounds that she’s duty bound as a party leader to spout flattering nonsense about a Democratic president, I can’t believe she’d praise his strategic acumen after three solid weeks of White House idiocy on Syria. He had no strategy in first announcing the “red line”; he had no strategy on what to do if it was crossed; he had no strategy to win over reluctant members of Congress from both parties to support an attack; and he had no strategy to extricate himself from the whole mess until Putin laid one on his plate. Egypt is almost as bad: His “strategy” in dumping Mubarak was to realign the U.S. with the populists of the Arab Spring, and then when that turned predictably to crap under the Muslim Brotherhood, he didn’t know what to do.
The punchline is that it’s probably partly because Obama sees himself the way Pelosi does, as a brilliantly eloquent rhetorician, that he doesn’t take more care strategically. From the beginning, his politics has always placed the image of Obama the man as a uniquely inspirational, transformational figure at the core of Hopenchange, beyond any set of policies. And who could blame him? He got elected president by being a good talker; he won a Nobel Peace Prize for blathering on the stump about how he was going to do things differently internationally than Bush, the thought of which gets funnier every day. He gave a big speech in Cairo in 2009 and has pronounced upon the glories of ObamaCare near-weekly since 2010, so naturally those two things were going to work out for him. Strategy is important, sort of, but with The One throwing the full force of his brand behind those initiatives, they were bound to turn out well. And here we are.