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The Audacity of Hope Hubris
President Obama rejects risk out of arrogance.


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It’s the audacity of hubris.

These budgets are just the topping on the cake: From executive orders to Obamacare theatrics, it’s long been evident that the president holds a high regard for his domestic authority. He seems to believe that by saying something he makes it true.

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But this arrogance isn’t confined by our borders. Whether it’s flip-flopping in the Middle East, disregard for our allies, or paralysis in the face of America’s enemies, Obama roams in the wilderness of inaction.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the administration’s policy toward Russia. Here, where the president keeps chasing consensus, Putin is playing geopolitical pranks. Everyone knows it’s a farce, but because both administrations have an interest in keeping a straight face, the farce becomes reality.

At home or abroad, the president’s hubris enfeebles any hope that America might successfully lead. To be sure, ego is a necessary component of any presidency — without it, the strains of office would destroy the officeholder. But disconnected from humility, confidence becomes arrogance. In a president, arrogance means problems of state are always others’ fault. It provides a blanket of self-protection against criticism. And it offers an excuse for excessive trepidation.

Yet the outcome is always the same. Spinning from election to election is no way to govern. It’s like a military officer who rejects risky decisions on the battlefield for fear that they might endanger his bureaucratic standing.

But the past is clear: Great presidencies require acceptance, not denial, of risk. If the president continues to consider himself above that responsibility, history’s judgment will not be kind.

— Tom Rogan is a blogger based in Washington, D.C., and a contributor to the Guardian.



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