September 18, 2011

"Why have so many people in the Obama administration vented to Mr. Suskind in the first place, when the president was only partway through his first term?"

Asks Michiko Kakutani:
Like many of Bob Woodward’s sources a lot of them are motivated by spin, score settling and second-guessing. Given the stalled economy and the president’s sliding poll numbers, some former staff members are playing the blame game early, while others seem to be hoping to goad the president into a reboot and a more aggressive stance before the 2012 election....

The president’s own assessment of his first two years in office?... “Going forward as president,” he said in the February 2011 interview, “the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward.”

(Buy the book — "Confidence Men" — here.)


Carol_Herman said...

First, free dinner!

Then, the thrill of reading one's own name in print!

"Advising the president." That's all Dick Cheney says he did. He doesn't say, in his book, how wounded he was by others. Because he knew he got selected by Dubya.

The other thing? Once you're elected veep, you can't be fired. (Worried that Cheney could get a heart attack and become a vegetable, or worse. Cheney actually produced a letter, he gave to an aide. That could be brought to Dubya in case of calamitous health issues.)

Dick Cheney was also very circumspect.

While Suskind got to hear from people who probably felt "slighted" and "overlooked."

And, perhaps? Were promised their identities wouldn't be divulged? "On background, was something James Baker was famous for.)

So, Mr. Suskind has the Rollodex.

Anonymous said...

No one will read the Suskind book. The press will forget it. It will not impact the re-election which is in the bag. The plans for first 100-days are already drafted.

NB: The people mentioned in the book are already giving non-denials, denials. Everything is according to plans.

Carol_Herman said...

Bob Woodward "got" Nixon by using the top guy at the FBI. Disguising this ... by saying his "parter" Bernstein "moved a geranium plant on the balcony" to set up appointments with DEEP THROAT.)

Deep Throat was a XXX movie that jumped into the mainstream. And, Mark Felt was never tried for treason!

Pretty clever to make believe there was a "deep throat," and not the FBI behind's Nixon's "assassination."

I wouldn't give Anita Dunn the time of day! Probably the most surprised person on earth ... that she qualifies as an insider is either Obama, himself. Or Michelle. Or Jarrett. Or Rahm Emanuel.

If you're not on the golf course, you have no idea what Obama is thinking!

ricpic said...

Obama is taking America out at the knees. Anyone who believes his misdirection about symbols and gestures is the complete fool.

Carol_Herman said...

My son says people at work are talking about Ron Paul.

Sometimes, at Reddit, this is backed up.

So, it's interesting to me that it's Ron Paul that's getting traction among the younger set.

Is he our "Ross Perot?" Both men are short. And, both are certifiably crazy. Both men seemed to know their ways around TV shows.

Is that enough?

Will Oprah come out of retirement? Would it matter?

Paul said...

“Going forward as president,” he said in the February 2011 interview, “the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward.”

So Obama is saying his bull shit talk is just was important as polices?

Glenn Reynolds is right. Jimmy Carter is the BEST scenario as for Obama.

Well you guys voted for him. So you are getting the kind of government you deserve.

In 2012, THINK before you vote.

Beevalo Bill said...

If true, I now understand and I am frigthened. If not, it is worse than I ever imagined.

Crimso said...

I notice your tags read (in part): "javascript:void(0), Obama economics"

Very apt.

Beevalo Bill said...


Damn I am fallible too.

yashu said...

"At least as important"??? Holy Potemkin village, batman. And he openly proclaims this-- image over substance-- as his program moving forward! Yikes is right.

"The symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office": like Attack Watch?

Yikes upon yikes.

traditionalguy said...

The missing piece for all of the puzzled observers of Obama's acts is simply to start with the assumption that Obama wants to play at the role of President long enough for his Green/Marxist friends finish off the American economy, disable the American energy extraction capability, and finally dismantle the American war machine.

That makes everything Obama has done fit into an easy to understand series of "mistakes" made as cover for the actual goals that he has set.

Wince said...

The president’s own assessment of his first two years in office?... “Going forward as president,” he said in the February 2011 interview, “the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward.”

Hence, his soak the rich tax campaign masquerading as a jobs policy, instead of seeking substantive consensus on meaningful tax reform.

Bender said...

Why have so many vented so early?

Because what the left does is rage and complain and attack and spew. That is what they do. That is what they are. They are anger and rage and hate personified.

Even when they are winning, they are enraged. Even when they have absolutely no opposition whatsoever, they complain and bitch and moan and seek to blame and demonize and attack.

Disgust and loathing for Obama was always lurking under the surface of all that worshiping adulation. But never fear, their antipathy for anyone conservative will always exceed their own self-hate. It is the Republicans' fault that Obama is such an incompetent failure. The GOP is to blame for Obama not knowing what the hell he's doing. Hating on conservatives will always take a priority over the left admitting that they are the problem.

Carol_Herman said...

How many is "so many?"

Why was the book on Sarah Palin published? Because Joe McGinniss had NO CHOICE! He took money up front.

Books bomb.

These two will surely bomb.

Hope people read Michael Lewis' BOOMERANG ... which is due out very shortly! He tells you how the Greeks WON'T PAY the bankers theft of their country. (And, they play the monks. Who actually ran the theft ring.)

I read someplace where the german's want NATO to go in with Blue Hat troops. And, "take the money" the greek taxpapers owe the thieving bankers.

If' we're lucky the whole thing will just collapse.

Ireland's story is different. Those people were NEVER rich ... then for ten years they had a bubble. And, all their politicians sold out the taxpayers to pay off the banks.

You haven't heard anything yet!

If Merkel survives? It just means most european nations have citizens whose sovereignty went south.

While it's really the greek population that's fighting back!

Now, this doesn't mean that it's easy to be president of the USA. Though IKE went out of his way to prove it was, in fact, just a job where you smiled a lot for the cameras. And, played golf.

Oh, and the UN grew and metastasized.

As to Suskind reporting that obama can get very angry ... you should have heard the stories about hillary! Ashtrays and lamps FLEW.

People hid in the closet when they heard her footsteps coming down the hall.

Tim said...

Ann Althouse said...

"The president’s own assessment of his first two years in office?... “Going forward as president,” he said in the February 2011 interview, “the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward.”


Why the "yikes"?

For Democrats, the symbols and gestures have always been as important as the policies put forward.

To take but just one example (really, there are nearly endless examples...), if policies mattered for Democrats, Blacks would have jettisoned the Democrats years ago over the destruction of the Black family by Democrat social welfare policies.

Didn't happen, did it?

Symbols and gestures matter too much to some people. And now their affirmative action president is the biggest symbol and gesture of all.

Well, I've got a gesture too: !

Terry said...

Suskind was the "journalist" who started a liberal meme by writing: The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
The quote was unsourced, no context. Nevertheless liberals believed it happened in exactly the context Suskind implied.
They aren't that bright over there on the Left.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the conspiracies that my fellow righties above see (the ones I don't skip over). I see simple failure.

I applaud the United States for being so awesome that we can handle and completely digest an utterly failed president, such as Obama, without really even blinking. Our big, beautiful battleship just sails on, waiting for better leadership.

As far as the venting, I read all of this as the left implicitly admitting Obama's failure. And I read it as a damning claim by Obama insiders that Obama never really had an idea how to lead the country. He would have been overtaken by events in even the best of times, and even his most ardent supporters now see this.

It will be brutal for Democrats in 2012. The presidency is lost. The House and Senate are where the Democrats will spend their resources.

Rick said...

Important gestures, like feet always up on the furniture and sitting on the White House desk.

A. Shmendrik said...

A. Because he is clearly midway through his only term, and cultivating favor with Bob Woodward, Suskind, etc. has more utility to their future employment than loyalty to Obama does.

Janice Sue G. said...

Why is Barack always described as brilliant,yet every example given shows no brillance? I think he's Chauncey Gardner-like brilliant and people are just patronizing him.

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Seems to me there may be some explations to answer the question.The people surrounding Mr Obama are hoping to salvage a career sucking at the government tit as "policy" wonks or advisors. They recognize that Mr Obama is on the ropes, and they dont want to be tarred (no racial enentdre) by Mr Obama's manifest failures.

I dont think that most Americans follow these kinds of navel gazing exercises. Blog posters (me included) represent the second and third standard deviations from the mean. We fulminate, follow the latest blog blowups, but most americans do not.

These contretemps are exclusive to a small portion of the population and will not have any significant impact on november 2012

Just my .02

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

Bunch of nobodies cashing in on the President's misfortune.

Just like Bush's second term.

They need to hurry on the tell-all books. There's little over a year left.

Shouting Thomas said...

Read Sailer's current column in for the answer.

edutcher said...

As Larry Summers said (or implied), the adults came between the previous and current Democrat administrations.

All we've had otherwise is a bunch of three year olds yelling, "He did it first. It's not my fault...".

Joe Schmoe said...

Michiko, good NYT lackey that she is, does manage to slip some Barry cheerleading into her book review. From the article:

Because the book essentially begins with Mr. Obama’s crash course in economics as a candidate and ends in early 2011, Mr. Suskind does not place the mismanagement and indecisiveness he describes in these pages in perspective with the tough-minded decision by Mr. Obama to sign off on the high-risk mission that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

I love that they think this was some sort of tough decision.

CIA: Hey, we've found bin Laden in a house in Pakistan.

Obama: Okay...Get him?

MarkD said...

I want to know what symbolism. The hammer and sickle would be honest, but off-putting.

The stench of failure is in the air. Michiko Kakutani overlooks the obvious. Spreading the blame is part of the game in DC.

Almost Ali said...

In short, a jive turkey.

Almost Ali said...

It's doubtful the bin Laden decision was left to Obama. More likely the order was initiated by auto-pen - carried out - and then presented. Probably in the manner of another fixed game of Three Card Monte.

Charlie said...

“the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward.”

Absolutely. Magicians call it misdirection, and the patter and the big movements are what makes the trick. What is really important is unperceived. For every big outrageous act we rail about, there are a hundred subtle ones buried within the bureaucracy that rachet the country in the direction he wants.

Yet will the Repubs win? Remember the best they could do in 2008 was McCain! My God! For a contrast, look at Paul Ryan's speech last week. Why don't the candidates sound like this?

Rumpletweezer said...

I'm waiting for the first tell-all book by one of his advisers that says, "I tried talking to him about X and he really didn't seem to know anything about it."

Fred4Pres said...

The portrayal of Larry Summers in The Social Network was pretty funny. One of the best parts of that movie. I assume it was exaggerated a bit, but after seeing the reports of Suskind's book I am starting to think that may be a lot closer to the truth.

Seeing Red said...

The plans for first 100-days are already drafted.

That's really nice, but we're already 2 years into this administration. What's he waiting for?

avwh said...

"It's doubtful the bin Laden decision was left to Obama. More likely the order was initiated by auto-pen - carried out - and then presented."

I heard they got him to sign it by putting a scorecard from his last round of golf over it. Those photos from the situation room sure looked like they'd just drug him off the golf course to let him hunker in the corner like a scared kid.

PatCA said...

Hell hath no fury like a cultist disappointed.

atlharp said...

Gestures and symbols? Like him giving that speech while the stock market was tanking? How about him getting pwned on live TV by Netanyahu? Yes, the gestures and symbols are clear! ROFL!