Devastating NY Times Story Reveals Obama As An Arrogant And Divisive Blowhard Who Overestimates His Abilities And Stupidly Competes In Useless Trivialities

Update, 9/11/12: I’ve written about Obama’s divisiveness – in wild contrast to his hypocritical and cynical promises to “transcend the starkly red-and-blue politics of the last 15 years, end the partisan and ideological wars and build a new governing majority” – and on this day when we celebrate the unity of the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, it seems fitting to examine why any hope of unity went out the door with Obama’s presidency.

Two weeks - just TWO WEEKS - after Obama took office, Republicans (according to Bob Woodward’s new book) came ready to work with him.  The problem was that Obama wasn’t ready to work with THEM.  When Eric Cantor provided some excellent suggestions to the massive stimulus that Obama demanded, Obama shut him down by saying, “Elections have consequences and Eric, I won.”  Obama flat-out told Republicans he didn’t want to hear any of their ideas and that they weren’t going to be allowed to contribute.

Obama gave a speech just three weeks after taking office in  which he said:

“Don’t come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis,” he admonished in a speech.

Eric Cantor was simply amazed.  Obama had falsely won election on a promise of true hope and change for rising above partisan intransigence.  And he was being more partisan and more bullheaded than anybody.  Cantor reflected that Obama had EVERYTHING when he took office.  He had the love of the American people.  He had total Democrat control over the House for two full years.  He had filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate for those two years.  He had an opposition party that was shocked and awed and disoriented and dismayed at the loss they had just taken.  Obama had all of that going for him.  And, in Cantor’s words, in Obama’s very first act as president, “he had unified and energized the losers.”

Obama told a lot of what we now know are documented lies to become president.  He promised he’d cut the deficit in half during his first four years, when instead he has TRIPLED IT.  He mocked George Bush as “irresponsible” and literally denounced Bush’s patriotism for adding $4 trillion to the debt in eight years; Obama will have added $6 trillion in his first four years when this term ends.  He voted against Bush’s debt ceiling increase on hyper-partisan grounds only to viciously denounce Republicans for voting the same way and on the same grounds that HE did when he was a Senator.  There are many similar examples.  But for all the lies he told, his most unforgivable lie was promising the American people that he would rise above political differences and heal the national divide when we now know that he not only never had any intention of doing so, but was in fact pathologically incapable of even trying.

I responded to a liberal who blamed the Obama failures on “Republican obstructionism.”  I provided just a few MAJOR examples of the Democrat obstructionism that Bush faced from Democrats who had even MORE control over the political process than the Republicans have had since 2010.  It is hypocritical to the extreme for those who never blamed DEMOCRAT OBSTRUCTIONISM to now blame Republicans for the very sort of obstructionism that they were cheering when Bush was president.  [End update]

Hey, with a few more stories like this, I might almost take the New York Times out of the bird cage and read it:

Rich Karlgaard, Forbes Staff
9/03/2012 @ 12:34PM |242,209 views
New York Times Proves Clint Eastwood Correct — Obama Is Lousy CEO

A Sunday New York Times front page story — New York Times! — might have killed President Obama’s re-election hopes.

The story is called “The Competitor in Chief — Obama Plays To Win, In Politics and Everything Else.” It is devastating.

With such a title, and from such a friendly organ, at first I thought Jodi Kantor’s piece would be a collection of Obama’s greatest political wins: His rapid rise in Illinois, his win over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries, the passage of health care, and so on.

But the NYT piece is not about any of that. Rather, it is a deep look into the two outstanding flaws in Obama’s executive leadership:

1. How he vastly overrates his capabilities:

But even those loyal to Mr. Obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and that he tends to overestimate his capabilities. The cloistered nature of the White House amplifies those tendencies, said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, adding that the same thing happened to his former boss. “There’s a reinforcing quality,” he said, a tendency for presidents to think, I’m the best at this.

2. How he spends extraordinary amounts of time and energy to compete in — trivialities.

For someone dealing with the world’s weightiest matters, Mr. Obama spends surprising energy perfecting even less consequential pursuits. He has played golf 104 times since becoming president, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who monitors his outings, and he asks superior players for tips that have helped lower his scores. He decompresses with card games on Air Force One, but players who do not concentrate risk a reprimand (“You’re not playing, you’re just gambling,” he once told Arun Chaudhary, his former videographer).

His idea of birthday relaxation is competing in an Olympic-style athletic tournament with friends, keeping close score. The 2009 version ended with a bowling event. Guess who won, despite his history of embarrassingly low scores? The president, it turned out, had been practicing in the White House alley.

Kantor’s piece is full of examples of Obama’s odd need to dominate his peers in everything from bowling, cards, golf, basketball, and golf (104 times in his presidency). Bear in mind, Obama doesn’t just robustly compete. The leader of the free world spends many hours practicing these trivial pursuits behind the scenes. Combine this weirdly wasted time with a consistent overestimation of his capabilities, and the result is, according to NYT’s Kantor:

He may not always be as good at everything as he thinks, including politics. While Mr. Obama has given himself high grades for his tenure in the White House — including a “solid B-plus” for his first year — many voters don’t agree, citing everything from his handling of the economy to his unfulfilled pledge that he would be able to unite Washington to his claim that he would achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Though he never ran a large organization before becoming president, he initially dismissed internal concerns about management and ended up with a factionalized White House and a fuzzier decision-making process than many top aides wanted.

Kantor’s portrait of Obama is stunning. It paints a picture of a CEO who is unfocused and lost.

Imagine, for a minute, that you are on the board of directors of a company. You have a CEO who is not meeting his numbers and who is suffering a declining popularity with his customers. You want to help this CEO recover, but then you learn he doesn’t want your help. He is smarter than you and eager to tell you this. Confidence or misplaced arrogance? You’re not sure at first. If the company was performing well, you’d ignore it. But the company is performing poorly, so you can’t.

With some digging, you learn, to your horror, that the troubled CEO spends a lot of time on — what the hell? — bowling? Golf? Three point shots? While the company is going south?

What do you do? You fire that CEO. Clint Eastwood was right. You let the guy go.

So Obama is an arrogant blowhard who fails or refuses to understand his own limitations and has surrounded himself with fawning yes men and women who will agree with whatever they think he wants them to agree with.  And Obama also has a pathological need to win even at the smallest and most trivial things.

That’s just not the kind of guy you want leading your country.

That attitude is responsible for why America’s credit got downgraded and we couldn’t make a big deal when we really needed one:

Bob Woodward Book: Debt Deal Collapse Led to ‘Pure Fury’ From President Obama
By RICK KLEIN
Sept. 05 2012

An explosive mix of dysfunction, miscommunication, and misunderstandings inside and outside the White House led to the collapse of a historic spending and debt deal that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehnerwere on the verge of reaching last summer, according to revelations in author Bob Woodward’s latest book.

The book, “The Price of Politics,” on sale Sept. 11, 2012, shows how close the president and the House speaker were to defying Washington odds and establishing a spending framework that included both new revenues and major changes to long-sacred entitlement programs. “The Price of Politics” examines the struggles between Obama and the Congress for the three and a half years, between 2009 and the summer of 2012. It offers exclusive behind the scenes access to what the President and the Republicans did, or rather failed to do.

But at one critical juncture, with an agreement tantalizingly close, Obama pressed Boehner for additional taxes as part of a final deal — a miscalculation, in retrospect, given how far the House speaker felt he’d already gone.

The president called three times to speak with Boehner about his latest offer, according to Woodward. But the speaker didn’t return the president’s phone call for most of an agonizing day, in what Woodward calls a “monumental communications lapse” between two of the most powerful men in the country.

When Boehner finally did call back, he jettisoned the entire deal. Obama lost his famous cool, according to Woodward, with a “flash of pure fury” coming from the president; one staffer in the room said Obama gripped the phone so tightly he thought he would break it.

“He was spewing coals,” Boehner told Woodward, in what is described as a borderline “presidential tirade.”

“He was pissed…. He wasn’t going to get a damn dime more out of me. He knew how far out on a limb I was. But he was hot. It was clear to me that coming to an agreement with him was not going to happen, and that I had to go to Plan B.”

Accounts of the final proposal that led to the deal’s collapse continue to differ sharply. The president says he was merely raising the possibility of putting more revenue into the package, while Boehner maintains that the president needed $400 billion more, despite an earlier agreement of no more than $800 billion in total revenue, derived through tax reform.

Obama and his aides argue that the House speaker backed away from a deal because he couldn’t stand the political heat inside his own party – or even, perhaps, get the votes to pass the compromise. They say he took the president’s proposal for more revenue as an excuse to pull out of talks altogether.

“I was pretty angry,” the president told Woodward about the breakdown in negotiations. “There’s no doubt I thought it was profoundly irresponsible, at that stage, not to call me back immediately and let me know what was going on.”

The failure of Obama to connect with Boehner was vaguely reminiscent of another phone call late in the evening of Election Day 2010, after it became clear that the Republicans would take control of the House, making Boehner Speaker of the House.

Nobody in the Obama orbit could even find the soon-to-be-speaker’s phone number, Woodward reports. A Democratic Party aide finally secured it through a friend so the president could offer congratulations.

While questions persist about whether any grand bargain reached by the principals could have actually passed in the Tea Party-dominated Congress, Woodward issues a harsh judgment on White House and congressional leaders for failing to act boldly at a moment of crisis. Particular blame falls on the president.

“It was increasingly clear that no one was running Washington. That was trouble for everyone, but especially for Obama,” Woodward writes.

That was what John Boehner was saying all along.  He and Obama had a deal.  All Obama had to do was agree to the deal he’d already made.  But to Obama it wasn’t just two men trying to do what was best for America; it was a competition.  And Obama wanted to win.  So he tried to force one more concession out of Boeher.  And Obama blew up the deal and America lost.

Here’s a little more to reveal this ugly, narcissistic side to Obama:

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers and the White House had what nearly every party is describing as a “tough” and “testy” meeting on the debt ceiling Wednesday afternoon, culminating in a stormy exchange between President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

It was the fifth straight day of talks, but the first in which attendees, speaking on background, were willing to admit that steps were taken backwards. According to multiple sources, disagreements surfaced early, in the middle and at the end of the nearly two-hour talks. At issue was Cantor’s repeated push to do a short-term resolution and Obama’s insistence that he would not accept one.

“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people on this,” the president said, according to both Cantor and another attendee. “This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political positioning, and protecting their base, than in resolving real problems.”

Cantor, speaking to reporters after the meeting, said that the president “abruptly” walked off after offering his scolding.

[...]

“I have reached the point where I say enough,” Obama concluded, according to Reuters. “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”

And it should have brought Obama’s presidency down.  That short term deal Cantor wanted would have saved America’s triple A credit rating.

So, a few things on all this.  First of all, there isn’t a conservative on the planet who needs or wants a damn scolding from Obama.  You don’t scold people you’re negotiating with if you actually want to get anwhere with them.  Second, history has already proven Obama definitely ISN’T Ronald Reagan.  Ronald Reagan is the greatest president in the history of America, according to the American people; while Barack Obama is an arrogant chump who thinks he’s about 50,000 times greater than he is.  And third, the fact that Obama by his own description was willing to bring his entire presidency down just to not budge to prove some point or win some contest pretty much confirms all of what is written above.

Barack Obama is a narcissist according to a psychologist who is an expert on the field of narcissism.  He simply has no business whatsoever being president.  As Clint Eastwood said, it’s time to let him go.

One of the reasons I got into blogging was to preserve a record as to just what a total CHUMP Obama is.  So, knowing that the New York Times is great at purging stories that don’t favor liberals, I’d better grab it while it’s still around to be grabbed.  Here’s the NY Times piece.  Let me repeat that; here’s a piece from the New York Times:

September 2, 2012
The Competitor in Chief
By JODI KANTOR

As Election Day approaches, President Obamais sharing a few important things about himself. He has mentioned more than once in recent weeks that he cooks “a really mean chili.” He has impressive musical pitch, he told an Iowa audience. He is “a surprisingly good pool player,” he informed an interviewer — not to mention (though he does) a doodler of unusual skill.

All in all, he joked at a recent New York fund-raiser with several famous basketball players in attendance, “it is very rare that I come to an event where I’m like the fifth or sixth most interesting person.”

Four years ago, Barack Obama seemed as if he might be a deliberate professor of a leader, maybe with a touch of Hawaiian mellowness. He has also turned out to be a voraciously competitive perfectionist. Aides and friends say so in interviews, but Mr. Obama’s own words of praise and derision say it best: he is a perpetually aspiring overachiever, often grading himself and others with report-card terms like “outstanding” or “remedial course” (as in: Republicans need one).

As he faces off with Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, Mr. Obama’s will to win — and fear of losing — is in overdrive. He is cramming for debates against an opponent he has called “ineffective,” raising money at a frantic pace to narrow the gap with Mr. Romney and embracing the do-anything-it-takes tactics of an increasingly contentious campaign.

Even by the standards of the political world, Mr. Obama’s obsession with virtuosity and proving himself the best are remarkable, those close to him say. (Critics call it arrogance.) More than a tic, friends and aides say, it is a core part of his worldview, formed as an outsider child who grew up to defy others’ views of the limits of his abilities. When he speaks to students, he almost always emphasizes living up to their potential.

“He has a general philosophy that whatever he does, he’s going to do the very best he can do,” Marty Nesbitt, a close friend, said in an interview.

Mr. Obama’s aides point to the seriousness he brings to the tasks of the presidency — how he virtually never shows up for a meeting unprepared, say, or how he quickly synthesizes complicated material. When Mr. Obama was derided as an insufferable overachiever in an early political race, some of his friends were infuriated; to them, he was revising negative preconceptions of what a black man could achieve.

But even those loyal to Mr. Obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and that he tends to overestimate his capabilities. The cloistered nature of the White House amplifies those tendencies, said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, adding that the same thing happened to his former boss. “There’s a reinforcing quality,” he said, a tendency for presidents to think, I’m the best at this.

And though Mr. Obama craves high grades from the electorate and from history, he is in a virtual dead heat with Mr. Romney in national polls, the political equivalent of school progress reports.

For someone dealing with the world’s weightiest matters, Mr. Obama spends surprising energy perfecting even less consequential pursuits. He has played golf 104 times since becoming president, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who monitors his outings, and he asks superior players for tips that have helped lower his scores. He decompresses with card games on Air Force One, but players who do not concentrate risk a reprimand (“You’re not playing, you’re just gambling,” he once told Arun Chaudhary, his former videographer).

His idea of birthday relaxation is competing in an Olympic-style athletic tournament with friends, keeping close score. The 2009 version ended with a bowling event. Guess who won, despite his history of embarrassingly low scores? The president, it turned out, had been practicing in the White House alley.

When he reads a book to children at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Mr. Obama seems incapable of just flipping open a volume and reading. In 2010, he began by announcing that he would perform “the best rendition ever” of “Green Eggs and Ham,” ripping into his Sam-I-Ams with unusual conviction. Two years later at the same event, he read “Where the Wild Things Are” with even more animation, roooooaring his terrible roar and gnaaaaashing his terrible teeth. By the time he got to the wild rumpus, he was howling so loudly that Bo, the first dog, joined in.

“He’s shooting for a Tony,” Mr. Chaudhary joked. (He has already won a Grammy, in 2006, for his reading of his memoir, “Dreams From My Father” — not because he was a natural, said Brian Smith, the producer, but because he paused so many times to polish his performance.)

Asked if there was anything at which the president allowed himself to just flat-out fail, Mr. Nesbitt gave a long pause. “If he picks up something new, at first he’s not good, but he’ll work until he gets better,” he said.

Mr. Obama’s fixation on prowess can get him into trouble. Not everyone wants to be graded by him, certainly not Republicans. Mr. Dowd, the former Bush adviser, said he admired Mr. Obama, but added, “Nobody likes to be in the room with someone who thinks they’re the smartest person in the room.”

Even some Democrats in Washington say they have been irritated by his tips on topics ranging from the best way to shake hands on the trail (really look voters in the eye, he has instructed) to writing well (“You have to think three or four sentences ahead,” he told one reluctant pupil).

For another, he may notalways be as good at everything as he thinks, including politics. While Mr. Obama has given himself high grades for his tenure in the White House — including a “solid B-plus” for his first year — many voters don’t agree, citing everything from his handling of the economy to his unfulfilled pledge that he would be able to unite Washington to his claim that he would achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Though he never ran a large organization before becoming president, he initially dismissed internal concerns about management and ended up with a factionalized White House and a fuzzier decision-making process than many top aides wanted.

Now Mr. Obama is in the climactic contest of his career, about to receive the ultimate judgment on his performance from the American people. It is a moment, aides say, he has been craving: during some of the darker days of his tenure, he told them that he wanted the country to evaluate him not in isolation, but in contrast to the Republican alternative. The tough, often successful attacks from the right have hardened and fueled him, aides say, driving him to prove that “we’re right and we’re better,” as one ally put it.

In 2008, he said he wanted to change the nature of politics and keep governing separate from campaigning; since then, he has overhauled his White House to prepare for the re-election bid and has run tit-for-tat negative ads, some of which, like some run by his opponent, have been criticized by media truth squads for inaccuracies.

He offers his share of verbal jabs at his rival, too.

As far back as 2008, Mr. Obama’s assessment of Mr. Romney was scathing. On the day Mr. Romney dropped out of that presidential race, Mr. Obama told reporters that the former governor was a weak candidate who made “poorly thought out” comments (the compulsive grader again). He savored Mr. Romney’s stumbles in the Republican primaries this time around, an adviser said, professing wonder that it took him so long to lock up the nomination.

This February, in an otherwise placid meeting with Democratic governors — routine policy questions, routine presidential replies — Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana asked Mr. Obama if he had what it took to win the 2012 race.

For a moment Mr. Obama looked annoyed, a White House aide said, as if he thought Mr. Schweitzer was underestimating him. Then he came alive. “Holy mackerel, he lit up,” Mr. Schweitzer said in an interview. “It was like a light switch coming on.”

No matter what moves Mr. Romney made, the president said, he and his team were going to cut him off and block him at every turn. “We’re the Miami Heat, and he’s Jeremy Lin,” Mr. Obama said, according to the aide.

Since then, Mr. Obama has been working at a furious pace, headlining three times as many fund-raisers as George W. Bush did during his 2004 re-election campaign, according to Mr. Knoller.

When local campaign staff members ask him what they need to do better, he talks about himself instead. “I need to be working harder,” he recently told one state-level aide.

He recently began preparing for the presidential debates, reading up on Mr. Romney and his positions. One danger is that he could sound grudging or smug by indulging in his habit of scoring others (as in, “You’re likable enough, Hillary,” one of his worst debate moments from 2008). As he slashes into Mr. Romney’s arguments, he sometimes cannot help letting crowds know what he thinks of his rival’s political skills.

“When a woman right here in Iowa shared the story of her financial struggles, he gave her an answer out of an economics textbook,” he said about Mr. Romney in May, his tone incredulous.

Though Mr. Obama quizzes his team on all aspects of the campaign, he is concentrating most on the rhetorical challenge of making a case for a second term. He has worked on making his stump speech tighter, less defensive and more forward-looking in recent months, and he is still testing and discarding lines. “That’s the meat of the campaign, that’s where his focus lies,” said David Axelrod, his chief strategist.

Not only do the White House, the Supreme Court and a budgetary crisis hang in the balance, but so does a national judgment on whether Mr. Obama’s agenda was a good idea in the first place. So perhaps it is not surprising that he cites not just his record, but also every other accomplishment he can think of.

Then again, he is just as competitive in private, when there is little or nothing at stake. At one of his farewell meetings for White House interns, Mr. Obama dispensed some life advice.

“When you all have kids, it’s important to let them win,” he said with a smile. “Until they’re a year old. Then start winning.”

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

If America really wants to “start winning,” it will rid its national ass of Obama.

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4 Responses to “Devastating NY Times Story Reveals Obama As An Arrogant And Divisive Blowhard Who Overestimates His Abilities And Stupidly Competes In Useless Trivialities”

  1. HL Says:

    “Hey, with a few more stories like this, I might almost take the New York Times out of the bird cage and read it:”

    Laughed out loud over this line, keep up the great work!

  2. Doug Derry Says:

    Doodling! That explains it.

    doo·dle1    [dood-l] Show IPA verb, doo·dled, doo·dling, noun
    verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

    1. to draw or scribble idly: He doodled during the whole lecture.
    2. to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
    3. Dialect . to deceive; cheat.

    Great article, thanks for sharing it!

  3. Michael Eden Says:

    HL,

    Of course, most of the time – even according to the New York Time’s own ombudsman- the paper is pretty much completely covered in poop before or after it’s been in the birdcage:

    I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.

    When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

    As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

    When even the enemies of conservativism in a biased liberal paper like the New York Times say something like this – by which I am now referring to Obama’s arrogance and his competitiveness over even silly things – you can pretty much know that it’s documented fact.

    dddd

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    Doug Derry,

    It sounds like “doodling” is pretty much a metaphor for Obama’s entire presidency.

    Thanks for the comment. Made me laugh!

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