The Corner

The Obama Paradox

The more a coy Obama speaks to enthusiastic crowds and gives soundbites and photo-ops to slavish reporters, the more everyone wants more of a piece of him, especially in interviews and press conferences.

But the more he dispenses his impromptu wisdom, the more he sounds like, well, a rookie senator whose collective experience derives from the utopianism of The Harvard Law Review, the gravy-train of Chicago entitlement politics, and the world view of Trinity Church.

Yet, the more his handlers treat him like fossilized amber, the less experience he gains, guaranteeing that on almost every rare ex tempore moment he will suggest something that doesn’t compute—that he might be president for 10 years, or that we need a civilian version of the Pentagon with the same $500 billion annual budget, or that someone like a Centcom commander like Petraeus doesn’t have his strategic comprehensive view, or that the Anbar awakening and the Surge were not, at least in part, connected (as if the signal that we were not pulling out, [as Obama advocated] or that we were changing tactics to ensure the safety of those in the neighborhoods who would help us, did not reassure tired Sunnis to join with us in expelling al Qaeda.)

For someone who has made the case that Bush in general is responsible for everything from the mortgage to energy crises, it’s jarring to hear such particularism and contextualization about the surge’s irrelevance.

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