[Ed. – Watch for the added emphasis. Democrats admire some funny things.]
To this senior Democrat, the Politico story [on WH preparation to deal with the Bergdahl revelation] showed the White House to be both tone-deaf and arrogant, two vices that are undermining what could have been a great presidency.
I share this email to make the broader point and to offer a disclosure: In the 18 months since I began writing columns focused on the presidency, virtually every post critical of Obama has originated from conversations with Democrats. Members of Congress, consultants, pollsters, lobbyists, and executives at think tanks, these Democrats are my Obama-whispers. They respect and admire Obama but believe that his presidency has been damaged by his shortcomings as a leader; his inattention to details of governing; his disengagement from the political process and from the public; his unwillingness to learn on the job; and his failure to surround himself with top-shelf advisers who are willing to challenge their boss as well as their own preconceived notions.
[When Republicans have a leader with these qualities, they stop admiring him. Is that a political liability? – Ed.]
“Dem Party is F****d,” wrote a Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill during the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act website.
A Democratic House member whose endorsement in 2008 helped lift the Obama candidacy told me in January, “He’s bored and tired of being president, and our party is paying the price.”
“Talented guy but no leader,” said a Democratic lobbyist and former member of Congress in March. “If he could govern half as well as he campaigns, he’d be a good-to-great president.”
Questioning why the Veterans Affairs Department hadn’t been overhauled months ago as promised by Obama, a senior White House official conceded privately to me, “We don’t do the small stuff well. And the small stuff is the important stuff.”