The real estate offices in Palm Springs are buzzing with rumors that the
Actually, there are days when Barack Obama looks as if he'd be happy to move to California and start his post-presidency right away. The man elected in 2008 on a euphoric wave of hope and change has not been able to change much and his hopes have been dashed by a Republican opposition that has been dedicated to one core principle: Whatever Obama wants, Obama doesn't get.
If Obamacare survives and becomes as permanent and popular as Social Security, it will be the one great achievement of his presidency. Beyond that, however, Obama's place in history will have far more to do with who he was than with what he did. He is America's first nonwhite president, something he achieved by being a great campaigner. As yet, though, it is hard to imagine historians will call him a great president.
It may be that he simply does not love the job enough. In that regard, the easiest contrast is with
Obama, by comparison, is a loner. Why should he need to spend time stroking the egos of dull-witted congressmen and preening senators? For him, the grit and sweat and glad-handing of politics is an annoyance. In his ideal world, logic and rationality would be enough.
We have had other presidents who were more like Obama than like Clinton -- Thomas Jefferson,
Any day of the week, Obama would prefer an intimate meal with intellectuals rather than drinks with the majority leader, golf with the speaker or a cocktail party in Georgetown. When he was in Rome this month, Obama had the U.S. ambassador pull together a dinner guest list more to his liking: prominent architect
The Rome soiree was not unique. Similar gatherings around the dinner table have apparently become frequent during Obama's second term. This is hardly a bad thing. It's a big perk of the presidency to be able to invite notable people to dinner, be sure they will show up and be pretty certain they will not be boring. But in a country where it is said the typical voter prefers a president who seems like a guy with whom he'd want have a beer, we have instead twice elected a man who would rather share a fine Italian wine with highly accomplished people who can talk about big ideas, not petty politics.