Maybe it was simple pandering when President Obama told the Univision interviewer his biggest failure was in not getting comprehensive immigration reform. But, come to think of it, wasn’t it equally weird to name “failing to change the tone in Washington” as a primary regret?
Frankly there are a lot more important things to regret, including:
●Not getting unemployment below 8 percent;
●Failing to reach a grand bargain;
●Presiding over record poverty rates;
●Watching his promise of a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal crumble;
●Failing to stop Iran’s nuclear program; and
●Finishing his term with the mullahs still in power in Iran and the mass murderer in control in Damascus.
In the grand scheme of things, these are huge problems with dire consequences if left unresolved. But all Obama can see is that his transformational magic fizzled and he failed to check a box for a key Democratic constituency. It is stunning but maybe shouldn’t be shocking.
Obama has often equated America’s redemption with his own political success. His wife was never as proud of her country as when it selected her husband president. Obama complained that the Bay of Pigs wasn’t his fault because he was only 3 months old at the time, not thinking that the country’s honor rather than his own was in need of defense. His “I “ quotient in speeches is higher than any president in my lifetime.
In short, Obama may actually think immigration reform really is a bigger deal than Iran’s progress in getting a nuclear bomb because the latter isn’t likely to prevent him from getting a second term.
Obama’s view of the world is uniquely egocentric. It is a dangerous mindset that convinces a president that his persona alone can bring world peace and only his opponents’ mean-spiritedness or ignorance prevents him from working his will. This turn of mind allows Obama no room for self-reflection and no ounce of recognition that he is responsible, even partially, for failure to solve enormous challenges. It allows him to inhabit a parallel universe in which everything is on track and improving and “bumps in the road” are the fault of others. He comes to believe no president has had it so hard, no president has had a worse economy to deal with, no president has had such formidable opposition. The messianic figure is also history’s greatest victim, in his telling.
All presidents need a healthy and maybe even unhealthy ego. But the country doesn’t need a president whose self-image grossly distorts his view of the world and his own presidency. In fact it is quite dangerous, not to mention creepy.