First, read this little item from Tevi Troy on Obama’s consumption – some would say over-consumption – of media. Now, I don’t really care about this sort of thing – the television I watch is something like 60 percent sports, 30 percent animated, and 10 percent Seinfeld reruns – but it just seems like the presidency would demand more attention.
But in the context of this NYT longread on Syria, it seems more troublesome.
Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum. In private conversations with aides, Mr. Obama described Syria as one of those hellish problems every president faces, where the risks are endless and all the options are bad.
President Barack Obama didn’t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website – despite insurance companies’ complaints and the site’s crashing during a test run – until after its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation’s health chief told CNN on Tuesday. In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1. “But not before that?” Gupta followed up. To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.”
The Obama-as-Technocrat arc fascinates me. The idea that he was some kind of technocratic, cool-under-pressure Vulcan always seemed off. Technocrats tend to be fussy, hands-on operators, taking over their own speechwriting (Romney) and struggling with delegation (Gore). Obama’s activity in both of these threads seems more to be that of a detached ideologue, frustrated with the problems of executive leadership, the lack of control over the storyline of his presidency, and ready to move on to something more pressing.
The golfing criticisms of the right have always been a bit overblown – but given the love of it and Sportscenter and the rest, maybe it’s time we started thinking of Obama in a different context: Instead of our cool, logical Vulcan, is he our first Bro president?