Never does Power give any indication that the policies and character of the administration she served for eight years might have had some role in the outcome of the election. Weak economic growth, capricious and stultifying and often-unconstitutional regulation, a rejection of military deterrence in favor of negotiation and accommodation with undemocratic great powers and their proxies, the removal of troops from Iraq and the supercilious reference to ISIS as the “JV team,” the constant tweaking and trolling of conservatives and Republicans to make them batty, and all enacted with an omnipresent and choking air of moral and intellectual superiority and pride—none of this factors in her analysis. So convinced is Power of the righteousness of her positions and stature and the inevitable course of History and Progress that Trump appears to her almost as an apparition, a figure from a different dimension, far removed from any universe in which she and her boss lived and acted. Another Obama mistake.
I don’t mean to single out Power. This distended mentality of merit and awesome lack of self-awareness was an Obama administration specialty. The former president’s amanuensis, Ben Rhodes, the first deputy national security adviser in American history to hold an MFA in creative writing from NYU and the architect of the echo chamber that propagandized for the Iran deal, is just as cocooned. So taken aback was he by the election results that words failed him. “In one long take,” writes Washington Post film critic Alan Zilberman, “Rhodes goes out for some fresh air after the results are in, only to find himself rendered inarticulate by what he is feeling.”