Deafened by arrogance 159

Charles Krauthammer, whose intelligence must be counted as one of America’s assets (and whose opinion we crave to hear even though we sometimes disagree with it), observes that Obama’s gorgeous cavalcade through East Asia ended up a failure, extending his record of failures in foreign affairs.

From The Corner of National Review Online:

Whenever a president walks into a room with another head of state and he walks out empty-handed — he’s got a failure on his hands.

And this was self-inflicted. With Obama it’s now becoming a ritual. It’s a combination of incompetence, inexperience, and arrogance. He was handed a treaty [with South Korea] by the Bush administration. It was done. But he wanted to improve on it. And instead, so far, he’s got nothing. …

And this is a pattern with Obama. He thinks he can reinvent the world. With Iran, he decides he has a silver tongue, he’ll sweet-talk ’em into a deal. He gets humiliated over and over again. With the Russians he does a reset, he gives up missile defense, he gets nothing.

In the Middle East, he proposes a ban on Jewish construction in Jerusalem, which is never going to happen. And what does it do? After 17 years [of negotiations without any preconditions] it destroys any chance of negotiations.

Again, a combination of [incompetence] — he comes in, I’ll reinvent the world, I know everything — and arrogance. And the result? He gets zero results.

Right. And he’s not likely to become any wiser when his White House advisers are trapped between old dreams and new incomprehension.

From a Washington Post report:

One adviser said they spent the past dozen days “soul-searching.”

Another said that … “people aren’t just sitting around doing soul-searching. They’re gaming out the short, medium and long term.”

“People have given a lot of thought to this,” said that adviser, who like others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to freely discuss internal deliberations.

But their deliberations are apparently more of a casting about for comfort than a facing up to the election’s message of rejection:

In some ways, they said, the midterms were not as bleak a harbinger as some Democrats fear. Though Republicans took the House and narrowed the Democratic margin in the Senate, Obama’s personal-approval ratings remain high and his core constituencies remain highly supportive. Re-energizing them will be among his priorities.

So he’s happy with what he is, and will do again what he did before.

Advisers also said it will probably take months, if not longer, to develop a strategy for restoring some of the early promise of the Obama presidency, particularly the notion that he was a different kind of Democrat.

Yeah, sure – further left than most. Though most voters did not realize that taking the country far to the left was part of his early promise.

Although Obama could benefit from a high-profile compromise – perhaps on extending the Bush-era tax cuts or on other tax initiatives set to expire before the end of the year – officials are also prepared to point out any Republican intransigence….

That they can bring themselves to do. But will they  point out any intransigence on Obama’s part?

One of the many questions Obama faced immediately after Election Day was whether he “got it” – got, that is, voters’ frustration with his governance and policies. Obama hinted that he did in some respects, noting that his failure to make government more transparent or to curb earmarks did not live up to the high standards he had set.

That’s it? That’s all? They should have been “more transparent” – whatever that means – and Obama should have lived up to some high standards that he had set – whatever they were?

So what’s his plan?

A change of advisers – though not of advice.

A series of upcoming personnel moves – coming as outside critics call for a White House shake-up – will put Obama in a stronger position to make substantive progress, especially on the economy… such as finding a replacement for economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers and getting Jacob Lew confirmed at the Office of Management and Budget. … Axelrod will leave, with former campaign manager David Plouffe moving into the White House to assume a similar role … And Pete Rouse, the acting chief of staff, is about to complete an assessment of the White House bureaucracy that could lead to more personnel shifts. …

But –

“There isn’t going to be a reset button. That’s not their style,” said a Democratic strategist who works with the White House on several issues. …

Reset buttons “not their style”? Oh, we thought it was. Can we ever forget Hillary Clinton bustling about with a big red reset button to change American-Russian relations forever? Such fun and games it was, even though perfectly futile.

“They don’t like pivots,” [the strategist said] “and they also believe they’re right.”

There it is, the upshot of all the deliberations. Why should they make any serious changes when they’re certain that their policies are right? To them, it’s the electorate that’s wrong.

Obama, deafened by his arrogance, will not hear what the voters are saying to him.