Another illustration of presidential hubris involved the Bush family. The White House put out a picture of a private meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 27 that included former President George H.W. Bush and his son, Jeb, the former governor of Florida.
The Bushes were in town for the annual black tie dinner the next night at the Alfalfa Club, a gathering of business and political elites. The two featured speakers, both intended to be brief and humorous, were Obama and Jeb Bush. The president spoke to good reviews. He left before Bush spoke.
Obama hates such dinners. Some of his aides, in particular his political adviser David Plouffe, urged him not to spend an evening mingling with the 1 percent. Yet he chose to go, and attendees said it was the first time they could recall a speaker leaving before the other side had its fun. In addition, Obama’s 87-year-old predecessor was present.
Imagine the criticism five years ago if President George W. Bush had walked out on a dinner before Hillary Clinton spoke, with Bill Clinton in the audience.