That and a heckuva lot more from... ready for this?
When Barack Obama first ran for president, he theatrically cast himself as the man alone on the stage. From his address in Berlin to his acceptance speech in Chicago, he eschewed ornaments and other politicians, conveying the sense that he was above the grubby political scene, unearthly and apart.
He began “Dreams From My Father” with a description of his time living on the Upper East Side while he was a student at Columbia, savoring his lone-wolf existence. He was, he wrote, “prone to see other people as unnecessary distractions.” When neighbors began to “cross the border into familiarity, I would soon find reason to excuse myself. I had grown too comfortable in my solitude, the safest place I knew.”
His only “kindred spirit” was a silent old man who lived alone in the apartment next door. Obama carried groceries for him but never asked his name. When the old man died, Obama briefly regretted not knowing his name, then swiftly regretted his regret.
But what started as an affectation has turned into an affliction.
A front-page article in The Times by Carl Hulse, Jeremy Peters and Michael Shear chronicled how the president’s disdain for politics has alienated many of his most stalwart Democratic supporters on Capitol Hill.
His bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude, the article said, “has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, an early Obama backer, noted that “for him, eating his spinach is schmoozing with elected officials.”
First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction.
His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.
The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.
The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.
Almost everything else — from an all-out push on gun control after the Newtown massacre to going to see firsthand the Hispanic children thronging at the border to using his special status to defuse racial tensions in Ferguson — just seems like too much trouble.
There's a part of me that finds hope in this sort of thing. Finds hope in people recognizing what it is Obama stands for and who the man really is but... let's not kid ourselves.
There may be more now in the media who are recognizing what Obama is doing to the country but trust me when I tell you that they'll be the first to circle the wagons should it come down to it because, in the end, he's still a kindred spirit.
Maureen Dowd may be disappointed with Obama but let's not not be blind. Her worldview, her mindset, her ideology will continue to be a threat to what is right, pure, good and decent.
That's a fact.