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What happens when a political messiah fails?

by Mojambo ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Cult of Obama, Election 2008, Politics at February 25th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

For me personally I do not believe in political messiahs be they presidents whom I greatly admired such as Dwight Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan or those such as two year Senators on Messianic missions, former pizza executives, or one term governors to say nothing about the Kennedy family. Men are perishable and fallible things.

by James W. Ceasar

Every student of American religious history has heard of the event known as “the Great Disappointment.” In 1818 William Miller, a former naval captain turned lay Baptist preacher, developed a new method for calculating biblical chronology to arrive at the conclusion that the millennium would take place sometime between 1842 and 1844. Finally published in 1832, Miller’s thesis quickly drew attention. A sect began to form, spreading from Miller’s home region in Eastern New York to New England and beyond. Millerism was born. The time was drawing nigh, Miller preached, when a dreadful cataclysm would occur, to be followed by a wondrous splendor: “The heavens appear, the great white throne is in sight, amazement fills the universe with awe.” Pressed by followers for an exact date—people wished to settle their affairs before going up to heaven—Miller, after some hesitation and a few unmet deadlines, settled on October 22, 1844. The fateful day came and then went without any visible sign of the Advent, leaving the Millerites disheartened and perplexed.

And what of the Great Disappointment of 2013? In the promiscuous blending of politics and culture that characterizes our age, the launch of the Obama campaign in 2007 marked the beginning of a politico-spiritual movement that promised a new beginning and a transformation of the nation. It was to be the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal .  .  . [when we] restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.” Faith in the leader knew no bounds. Obamaism spilled out from the college campuses and tony enclaves of Manhattan and San Francisco into the mass public to become first an American and then a worldwide phenomenon. The legion of believers included not only the youth in their T-shirts emblazoned with the silk-screen Obama image, but also many of the nation’s most experienced political observers. By early 2009, the five wise persons from Oslo had come bearing the gift of the Nobel Peace Prize. No date was fixed for the fulfillment of all the hopes and promises—extensions were continually asked for under the excuse that “change would never be easy”—but enough time had transpired by the end of 2013 for people to sense that the deadline had come and gone. Like October 22, 1844, the appointed time passed with no visible sign of the advent of a new era.

How believers cope with the trauma of disappointment has long been a theme in the field of social psychology. Modern, positivist research on this topic began with the publication in 1956 of Leon Festinger’s celebrated work When Prophecy Fails, in which Festinger and his colleagues first introduced the theory of “cognitive dissonance.” This theory explores how people deal with the discomfort of confronting conflicting ideas and opposing sentiments (“dissonance”). The model holds that individuals will look for mechanisms to reduce dissonance, be it by avoiding contact with conflicting sources of information (as when readers of The Weekly Standard surf with their remotes past MSNBC) or by restructuring their worldview to reduce or eliminate clashing positions. Three general responses are possible: acceptance, denial, and deflection.

Accepters are those who conclude that they have succumbed to an error or perhaps been victims of a hoax. In the psychologists’ jargon, they admit to “disconfirmation.” Such recognition may come with powerful feelings of pain—a sense of emptiness, the despair of lost hope, or the embarrassment of having been “had” by a confidence man. It is poignant to read the reaction of one of the Millerites in the wake of the Great Disappointment: “Is there no God, no heaven, no golden home city, no paradise? Is all this but a cunningly devised fable?” Yet with acceptance, difficult as it may be, individuals eliminate dissonance and can at least hope to establish a new equilibrium. According to Festinger, who made Millerism one of his main case studies, acceptance turned out to be the Millerites’ predominant, and likely the best, response. […….]

In the case of the Great Disappointment of 2013, at the elite level there appear to be at least a few individuals who have managed to reboot psychologically and go on to lead normal and productive lives. The most prominent is Robert Gibbs, Barack Obama’s former press secretary, who is now pursuing his own business career. While he still supports Obama’s political program, Gibbs has recently appeared on television admitting that “2013 was a lost year for the president,” and that the people doubt that Obama’s team is “remotely capable of solving those problems.” He no longer frequents the White House. On the level of the mass public, poll data show a stunning loss of confidence in the leader, as more and more erstwhile followers have come to accept that “the change” was pure fiction. While there are signs of a mild and pervasive depression—nearly two-thirds of the public think the nation is on the wrong track—many seem to be adjusting to life after Obamaism.

Deniers are those who refuse to accept disconfirmation and go on believing. The explanation for deniability, a reaction that seems counterintuitive, is the pride of Festinger’s study. By his account, some followers have invested so much in their adherence that they cannot eliminate the dissonance by adjusting to reality. They instead “effectively blind themselves to the facts” and band together, fortifying their beliefs by the support of others who agree. “If more and more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly it must, after all, be correct.” In brief, to quote another expert, they cling to religion.

Having used the Millerites to illustrate acceptance, Festinger turns to the followers of Sabbatai Zevi to explore deniability. Unknown to most, Zevi represents a remarkable case in religious history. The first half of the seventeenth century was a period of widespread belief among Jews that the Messiah would come—in 1648—and the world would be transformed. Zevi, a student of Kabbalah from Smyrna, proclaimed himself the One to his group of disciples. The appointed year came and went without visible change, but faith in Zevi did not waver. Based on recalculations, acolytes proposed later dates for the Messiah’s arrival. Zevi’s following continued to grow, attracting adherents throughout the whole world of Jewry. Pursuing his mission to go to the Holy Land, Zevi made his way toward Constantinople, where he was arrested by the Turkish authorities. The sultan sought to convert him to Islam, perhaps deploying the threat of death as an inducement. Zevi chose conversion over martyrdom.  [……]

Evidence of deniability inside of Obamaism is strong. Deniers can still be regularly encountered on college campuses and in many sections of the nation’s capital. Even the revelation of Obama’s famous deception about keeping your insurance—a moment worthy of Festingerian “disconfirmation” if ever there was one—was dismissed by HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the grounds that it applied to just “5 percent of Americans,” or about twice the population of New York City. The face of the deniers, shaven or unshaven, is Jay Carney, who gives every indication that he is already beginning to form a Dönmeh sect of his own. Of course, Carney has the excuse of being paid for his services, making his deniability plausible.  […….]

Deflection is the most interesting of the responses to a crisis of disappointment. Dissonance, according to Festinger, can be reduced if not entirely limited by the mechanism of “inventing ingenious arguments,” of which the “but for” line of reasoning has enjoyed the greatest success. Deflectors admit that the anticipated outcome did not actually occur, which is their concession to reality. But they go on to say that the failure was not the result of a falsehood or a hoax. The prophecy would have been fulfilled but for the existence of a countervailing force that canceled it out. The promise in a sense was kept, only its effects were nullified.  […….]

Among the remaining Obamaites, deflectors seem to outnumber deniers, though the overlap between the two groups makes measurement difficult. Deflection began early on, when the movement was still growing, as a hedge against the possibility of failure. In the full flush of enthusiasm, deflectors began to caution that the great change might be thwarted by the racism of the American public. Deflection was later perfected by political scientists, who added the authority of supposedly neutral analysis. The failure of the advent, it is now said, has been the result of “polarization” and “dysfunctionality.”  […….]The inadequacy of such an argument was recognized even by deflectors, who moved on to shore it up by the addition of the theme of dysfunctional government. This term sounds objective, only deflectors have successfully managed to define it as a condition brought on solely by the Republican party. Republicans who oppose the president and his party produce dysfunctionality; Democrats who pass a law fundamentally changing the health care system without reading it are functional. Dysfunctionality is treated as the great alien force; but for it, Obamaism would have succeeded. Here is a faith that can never die.

Social psychologists have concentrated their attention on the followers of false prophets and failed messiahs, not on the principals themselves. Applying to them the same logic of cognitive dissonance, these discredited leaders, having invested so much in their beliefs, should in all probability end up as deniers or deflectors. Such was the case with William Miller. Although he retired from active evangelizing after October 22, 1844, Miller continued to hold out for an imminent Advent and to urge patience among the dwindling number of the faithful. He also offered the excuse that previous biblical scholarship had led him astray, and that the bad results were the product of “forces over which I could have no control.”  […….]

Barack Obama’s reaction to the Great Disappointment of 2013 remains a matter of much speculation, fueled in part by comments he has made recently in interviews. As is so often the case with this protean figure, his position seems to depend less on the day than the time of day. Many observers thought they detected a weariness, bordering on an attitude of acceptance, in his “small ball” State of the Union address. A readjustment of this kind would indeed be remarkable since the essence of “political messianism” is a program of deep transformation led by a person of destiny. These characteristics were exactly what attracted followers to the original movement in 2008. Yet here was Obama in one of his interviews seeking to backtrack, sounding almost Burkean in likening his task as president to that of “a relay swimmer in a river [that] is history,” and adding that “the things you start may not come to full fruition on your timetable.” In another interview, he told Bill O’Reilly flat out, “I don’t think we have to fundamentally transform the nation.” Messiahs are normally made of sterner stuff. Before taking such comments at face value, however, it is worth recalling that they are of a piece with a longstanding Obama tactic used to dismiss adversaries’ criticisms that he is too radical. The visionary language is dropped and the leader modestly professes to be just a country pragmatist. As he told David Remnick, repeating well-worn phrases, “I’m not a particularly ideological person, .  .  . I’m pretty pragmatic. .  .  . I am comfortable with complexity.”

For the most part, however, Obama follows the predicted model of resolving dissonance by being a denier and deflector. He is still asking followers to have patience, going to the extreme of fighting Providence with executive orders, a tool unavailable to Miller or Zevi, that extend crucial deadlines. Obama appears at his most natural and sincere in the role of deflector-in-chief. All the great things, he suggests, would have happened but for sinister forces working against the change. Even today, he told Remnick, he is being resisted because some “don’t like the idea of a black president.” Looming larger for him are Rush Limbaugh and the scoffers at Fox News. Obama has described his opponents—the disbelievers—as being in the grip of “a fever,” which is the source of the disease of dysfunctionality. For all of his self-analysis about his comfort with complexity, his preferred disposition appears to be Manichean.

Yet the time is quickly arriving when the thoughts and feelings of Barack Obama will matter little for American politics. As the full impact of the Great Disappointment sinks in—a process not yet completed—fascination with the leader of a dying sect is waning. To be sure, Obama remains president, pen in hand and phone in pocket, but Obamaism is now finished. The enthusiasm is gone. Many candidates for office from the former sect are aware of the messiah fatigue that is growing in their states and districts, and they have posted signs suggesting the leader proselytize elsewhere.

For political analysts, the post-disappointment conferences are already underway. Their central task now is to figure out what traces the collapse has left and what the aftermath will be. The landscape is complicated. A part of the American populace was dubious from the start of the Obama awakening, viewing its religious overtones as a dangerous aberration from normal politics. Some were willing to brand it as such, while others, from charity or prudence, chose to await the signs of failure before speaking out. Now these doubters have become bolder. Yet they fall short of a numerical national majority, as the outcome of the last presidential election showed. For victory, Republicans will need to win the votes of some of those who were previously adherents of the faith. Deniers and deflectors will not switch, which means the future of American politics is in the hands of accepters. It is accepters, more than independents, who form the critical swing group. A part of this group is angry enough that it will vote to punish the Democratic party, but a larger portion likely feels only mild dismay or sensitivity, wishing for nothing more than to move on.

Political analysts usually gauge politics in terms of positions, ideology, and reactions to performance. They are generally right to do so since the most important opportunities for electoral change derive from situations in which the incumbent president or party is judged to have badly mismanaged affairs. Yet as much as people make their voting decisions by taking account of these hard realities, it would be an error to dismiss the importance of the more nebulous dimension of the nation’s tenor or mood. Voters are often moved by vague inclinations, such as desire for normalcy, renewal, or stability. Moods are variable, even fickle, and what holds for one election cycle may be forgotten in the next.

Winning any particular election is a matter of a party finding the right fit between message, candidate, and mood. Republicans stand to be the natural beneficiaries of the Great Disappointment, but they paradoxically may be at greater risk than Democrats of mistaking the nation’s mood. The GOP’s champions are those whose judgments of Obamaism have been vindicated. Yet a celebration of vindication is unlikely to fit the temper of most accepters. The overriding sentiment in the post-disappointment period will be a yearning to be done with political messianism and to return politics to the political. Accessing this mood has nothing to do with disowning strong positions. It has everything to do with selecting a candidate in 2016 of steady disposition who has a track record of competently handling the public’s affairs. Republicans would do well to listen to a genuine prophet, Isaiah: “Be calm, have no fear, and do not be fainthearted.”

Read the rest – The great disappointment of 2013

What happened to Obama? Basically nothing

by Mojambo ( 96 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Election 2008, Healthcare, Liberal Fascism, Progressives at November 21st, 2013 - 7:00 am

All this hand wringing by conventional liberals about Obama’s pratfalls in the health care debacle are rather amusing. It was obvious to those of us who pursue “truth” – instead of “ideology” – where ever it may lead, that Barack Obama was a hard core leftist and a naif  when it comes to real world economics and was damned serious about remaking America according to the dreams of his neo-Marxist father.

by Norman Podhoretz

It’s open season on President Obama. Which is to say that the usual suspects on the right (among whom I include myself) are increasingly being joined in attacking him by erstwhile worshipers on the left. Even before the S&P downgrade, there were reports of Democrats lamenting that Hillary Clinton had lost to him in 2008. Some were comparing him not, as most of them originally had, to Lincoln and Roosevelt but to the hapless Jimmy Carter. There was even talk of finding a candidate to stage a primary run against him. But since the downgrade, more and more liberal pundits have been deserting what they clearly fear is a sinking ship.

Here, for example, from the Washington Post, is Richard Cohen: “He is the very personification of cognitive dissonance—the gap between what we (especially liberals) expected of the first serious African American presidential candidate and the man he in fact is.” More amazingly yet Mr. Cohen goes on to say of Mr. Obama, who not long ago was almost universally hailed as the greatest orator since Pericles, that he lacks even “the rhetorical qualities of the old-time black politicians.”  […….]

Overseas it is the same refrain. Everywhere in the world, we read in Germany’s Der Spiegel, not only are the hopes ignited by Mr. Obama being dashed, but his “weakness is a problem for the entire global economy.”

In short, the spell that Mr. Obama once cast—a spell so powerful that instead of ridiculing him when he boasted that he would cause “the oceans to stop rising and the planet to heal,” all of liberaldom fell into a delirious swoon—has now been broken by its traumatic realization that he is neither the “god” Newsweek in all seriousness declared him to be nor even a messianic deliverer.

Hence the question on every lip is—as the title of a much quoted article in the New York Times by Drew Westen of Emory University puts it— “What Happened to Obama?” Attacking from the left, Mr. Westen charges that President Obama has been conciliatory when he should have been aggressively pounding away at all the evildoers on the right.

Of course, unlike Mr. Westen, we villainous conservatives do not see Mr. Obama as conciliatory or as “a president who either does not know what he believes or is willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election.” On the contrary, we see him as a president who knows all too well what he believes. Furthermore, what Mr. Westen regards as an opportunistic appeal to the center we interpret as a tactic calculated to obfuscate his unshakable strategic objective, which is to turn this country into a European-style social democracy while diminishing the leading role it has played in the world since the end of World War II.  […….]

This statement, coming on top of his association with radicals like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi, definitively revealed to all who were not wilfully blinding themselves that Mr. Obama was a genuine product of the political culture that had its birth among a marginal group of leftists in the early 1960s and that by the end of the decade had spread metastatically to the universities, the mainstream media, the mainline churches, and the entertainment industry. Like their communist ancestors of the 1930s, the leftist radicals of the ’60s were convinced that the United States was so rotten that only a revolution could save it.

But whereas the communists had in their delusional vision of the Soviet Union a model of the kind of society that would replace the one they were bent on destroying, the new leftists only knew what they were against: America, or Amerika as they spelled it to suggest its kinship to Nazi Germany. Thanks, however, to the unmasking of the Soviet Union as a totalitarian nightmare, they did not know what they were for. Yet once they had pulled off the incredible feat of taking over the Democratic Party behind the presidential candidacy of George McGovern in 1972, they dropped the vain hope of a revolution, and in the social-democratic system most fully developed in Sweden they found an alternative to American capitalism that had a realistic possibility of being achieved through gradual political reform.

Despite Mr. McGovern’s defeat by Richard Nixon in a landslide, the leftists remained a powerful force within the Democratic Party, but for the next three decades the electoral exigencies within which they had chosen to operate prevented them from getting their own man nominated. Thus, not one of the six Democratic presidential candidates who followed Mr. McGovern came out of the party’s left wing, and when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (the only two of the six who won) tried each in his own way to govern in its spirit, their policies were rejected by the American immune system. It was only with the advent of Barack Obama that the leftists at long last succeeded in nominating one of their own.

To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass.  [………]

And so it came about that a faithful scion of the political culture of the ’60s left is now sitting in the White House and doing everything in his power to effect the fundamental transformation of America to which that culture was dedicated and to which he has pledged his own personal allegiance.

I disagree with those of my fellow conservatives who maintain that Mr. Obama is indifferent to “the best interests of the United States” (Thomas Sowell) and is “purposely” out to harm America (Rush Limbaugh). In my opinion, he imagines that he is helping America to repent of its many sins and to become a different and better country.

But I emphatically agree with Messrs. Limbaugh and Sowell about this president’s attitude toward America as it exists and as the Founding Fathers intended it. That is why my own answer to the question, “What Happened to Obama?” is that nothing happened to him. He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president, and it is this rather than inexperience or incompetence or weakness or stupidity that accounts for the richly deserved failure both at home and abroad of the policies stemming from that reprehensible cast of mind.

Read the rest – What happened to Obama? Absolutely nothing

Wonderland Undone Part 1

by Mars ( 189 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Cult of Obama, Election 2008, Elections 2012, Entertainment, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Satire at November 19th, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Amidst all the hubbub and chaos of Wonderland’s elections the Dormouse was startled awake. Shocked by all the noise and activity he opened one sleepy eye and proclaimed “present”. Given a unique set of circumstances at that exact moment there was a lull, a silence in the general pandemonium so the Dormouse was heard clearly and completely by all in attendance.

The Hatter and the Hare looked at each other and a wry grin began to spread across their faces. Both turned to the Dormouse each raising an arm to the sky (and thus raising the Dormouse himself) and said to the assemblage of citizens before them, “behold your new candidate!” By that point, however, the Dormouse had already drifted back off to sleep.
From that point forward it was battle and chaos. At least for all but the Dormouse who slept through it all, except when called upon to read a speech to the adoring throngs. The Hatter and the Hare sought and received funding from the Jabberwocky, and of course assurances were made.

The Red Queen looked upon all of this with anger and disdain. How dare a lowly Dormouse try for the position for which she was entitled. After all her husband the King of Hearts had ruled the Wonderland for years, with wisdom and insight. (Though his opponents argued that he rules as a jester and cad.) It was her divine right to rule and no upstart Dormouse was going to take that away from her.

On the side of the “loyal opposition” they had another issue entirely. As the battle went on amongst those who would run against the Dormouse or the Queen, it was becoming clear that a creature unique to Wonderland’s Royal environs was going to come out the winner. This being was a unique form of Card Soldier, with no sides and no spine. This enabled the Card to switch suits to suit him whichever suit suited the moment. However, lately he had become stuck more and more in one suit and it was the wrong one for the group to which he belonged.
As all of this played out the Dormouse dreamed of the day he would be ruler and would never miss nap time or tee time again.

Tea Party

The magician’s performance has failed

by Mojambo ( 95 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Election 2008, Healthcare, History, Politics, Progressives at November 18th, 2013 - 7:00 am

I think it is interesting that Valerie Jarrett has said that Obama is a man who has been bored all his life.  The inertia of government is not want interests him, he wants to be above it all.

by Fouad Ajami

The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point.

Mr. Obama gave voice to this sentiment in a speech on Nov. 6 in Dallas: “Sometimes I worry because everybody had such a fun experience in ’08, at least that’s how it seemed in retrospect. And, ‘yes we can,’ and the slogans and the posters, et cetera, sometimes I worry that people forget change in this country has always been hard.” It’s a pity we can’t stay in that moment, says the redeemer: The fault lies in the country itself—everywhere, that is, except in the magician’s performance.

Forgive the personal reference, but from the very beginning of Mr. Obama’s astonishing rise, I felt that I was witnessing something old and familiar. My advantage owed nothing to any mastery of American political history. I was guided by my immersion in the political history of the Arab world and of a life studying Third World societies.

In 2008, seeing the Obama crowds in Portland, Denver and St. Louis spurred memories of the spectacles that had attended the rise and fall of Arab political pretenders. I had lived through the era of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. He had emerged from a military cabal to become a demigod, immune to judgment. His followers clung to him even as he led the Arabs to a catastrophic military defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. He issued a kind of apology for his performance. But his reign was never about policies and performance. It was about political magic.

Five years on, we can still recall how the Obama coalition was formed. There were the African-Americans justifiably proud of one of their own. There were upper-class white professionals who were drawn to the candidate’s “cool.” There were Latinos swayed by the promise of immigration reform. The white working class in the Rust Belt was the last bloc to embrace Mr. Obama—he wasn’t one of them, but they put their reservations aside during an economic storm and voted for the redistributive state and its protections. There were no economic or cultural bonds among this coalition. There was the new leader, all things to all people.

A nemesis awaited the promise of this new presidency: Mr. Obama would turn out to be among the most polarizing of American leaders. No, it wasn’t his race, as Harry Reid would contend, that stirred up the opposition to him. It was his exalted views of himself, and his mission. The sharp lines were sharp between those who raised his banners and those who objected to his policies.

America holds presidential elections, we know. But Mr. Obama took his victory as a plebiscite on his reading of the American social contract. A president who constantly reminded his critics that he had won at the ballot box was bound to deepen the opposition of his critics.

A leader who set out to remake the health-care system in the country, a sixth of the national economy, on a razor-thin majority with no support whatsoever from the opposition party, misunderstood the nature of democratic politics. An election victory is the beginning of things, not the culmination. With Air Force One and the other prerogatives of office come the need for compromise, and for the disputations of democracy. A president who sought consensus would have never left his agenda on Capitol Hill in the hands of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Mr. Obama has shown scant regard for precedent in American history. To him, and to the coterie around him, his presidency was a radical discontinuity in American politics. There is no evidence in the record that Mr. Obama read, with discernment and appreciation, of the ordeal and struggles of his predecessors. At best there was a willful reading of that history. Early on, he was Abraham Lincoln resurrected (the new president, who hailed from Illinois, took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible). […….]

In the oddest of twists, Mr. Obama claimed that his foreign policy was in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower’s . But Eisenhower knew war and peace, and the foreign world held him in high regard.

During his first campaign, Mr. Obama had paid tribute to Ronald Reagan as a “transformational” president and hinted that he aspired to a presidency of that kind. But the Reagan presidency was about America, and never about Ronald Reagan. Reagan was never a scold or a narcissist. He stood in awe of America, and of its capacity for renewal. There was forgiveness in Reagan, right alongside the belief in the things that mattered about America—free people charting their own path.


There are no stars in the Obama cabinet today, men and women of independent stature and outlook. It was after a walk on the White House grounds with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, that Mr. Obama called off the attacks on the Syrian regime that he had threatened. If he had taken that walk with Henry Kissinger or George Shultz, one of those skilled statesmen might have explained to him the consequences of so abject a retreat. But Mr. Obama needs no sage advice, he rules through political handlers.

Valerie Jarrett, the president’s most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire health-care system—will now claim Mr. Obama’s attention.

Read the rest – When the Obama magic died