a) Does Obama really not have an intuitive feeling for how much he’s been spending? That’s a little like not remembering how much sex you’re having. He’s the one doing the spending, after all. Even if he wasn’t, you’d think an ordinary BS detector would kick in. It’s one thing to expect MSNBC viewers to be credulous. It’s another thing …
b) Obama doesn’t care if it’s BS as long as it might work.
This is the favorite parlor game of conservatives: Is Obama ideologically blinded to the point of obtuseness or deeply cynical — or both?
In the case of the budget, Obama may actually not have a grasp of what is going on. He’s never taken the looming debt crisis seriously or submitted a budget that restrains entitlement spending. With him, it’s basically gimmicks (the Buffett tax) and hurling insults (“Social Darwinism!”) at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Listen, Obama isn’t running for office to cut the welfare state, so why should he clutter his mind with details like how much he’s spent, how much he’s increased the debt, etc.?
What we do know from this episode and many others is that there is no one any better informed than Obama in his inner circle and willing to save the president from himself. The spending flub is not an isolated occurrence in an administration run by political hacks and yes men and women.
No one could convince him that he couldn’t topple the Israeli prime minister or that fixating on Israeli settlements was a bad idea. He’s his own foreign policy guru.
Likewise, no one could catch his first-year law student mistakes on the New Deal-era Supreme Court or restrain him from an embarrassing and unpresidential attack on the justices.
Certainly no one was going to suggest that the Osama bin Laden victory lap would have gone over better without insinuating that Mitt Romney would not have issued the same order Obama did.
This propensity for error and the persistent tone deafness of the Obama campaign are a reflection of the intellectual conformity of the White House (it spans the political spectrum from far left to left) and of the cult of personality. The thin-skinned, self-enamored president is perched on a pedestal, beyond the criticism of mere mortal advisers.
It is therefore not surprising that we’ve seen a plethora of missteps, gaffes and serious errors from the once hyper-effective Obama campaign team. It is the result of an enforced intellectual and strategic uniformity, and from the lack of an early-warning system.There’s no canary in the political mine shaft to signal that the team is in trouble.
Whatever the origin of Obama’s flying-blind syndrome, the Romney forces surely hope it is an incurable and fatal ailment. As for Romney, he has the benefit of having been grilled in the primary, a healthy appreciation for the media’s delight in tripping him up and the absence of a reverential cocoon. That may explain why his campaign is suffering far fewer self-inflicted wounds these days.