I am just going to quote this long Carl Pham comment because it needs to be appreciated in its entirety.
He [President Obama] would be a fool to take it [advice on governing]. In the first place, on a personal level Obama is a sybarite. He enjoys being The Man, the biggest cheese, El Supremo, the subject of every conversation, the one on whose every word everybody hangs. He likes springing aboard the cool air of Air Force One, all the nervous saluting and obsequious asskissery. It suits him just fine. Unlike, say, George Bush, for whom it was an irrelevancy, Reagan, for whom it was a part to play well, or Jimmy Carter, for whom it was like unbidden tormenting fantasies of doing his gorgeous young D-cup secretary doggie style on the South Lawn at midnight, stuff for which he needed to do severe penance.
Who cares about the judgment of history, about whether generations yet unborn will read your memoirs and fight fierce Wikipedia wars over whether you were the greatest or second greatest President evah? This is as nothing to the pleasures of the moment, e.g. squiring Michelle to a snooty burger joint in Greenwich Village that forty years ago wouldn’t even have served a black man, and watching the owner nearly prostrate himself ohmygod SUCH an honor your worshipfulness — while a platoon of burly Secret Service guys scowl around, looking for the minutest threat to one’s sacred person. Alert! Fresh dog shit at two o’clock low, Sidewalk 2. Roger copy that, Base 1; will interdict. Advise clockwise detour by Air Jordan One…
Besides, look at your historically consequential Presidents. A disturbingly high fraction left office disparaged and hated, if not in a pine box. Sure, you’re ultimately vindicated, about in time to relieve your great-grandchildren of the necessity of cleaning the swastikas and bad words off your gravestone each Sunday visit. But I just cannot see Obama really caring about that stuff. I think he consciously chose, once it became clear his little fling at Presiidential candidacy was ulp! actually going to land him in the White House, to simply enjoy the ride, and not worry a whole lot about his “legacy” a century from now. If nothing else, his primary legacy according to those who write today’s history books is already assured, what with being the first black man elected President. Really, it’s probably all downhill from there.
Secondly, and this may sound strange, but I think Obama, unlike a fair chunk of his coterie, who are so delusional they need a GPS to locate the ground, knows his limits. I think he knows quite well that he hasn’t the faintest clue how to do any of those boring, gritty, blue-collarish jobs like formulate energy policy — those mind-numbing columns of numbers — or figure out how to unwind the taxpayers from GM’s shroud, or talk those surly camel-rogering weirdos over there into cleaning up, sliding into a cool dinner jacket, engaging in statesmanlike banter, and generally chilling out instead of shooting girls in the street and being openly naughty with their uranium.
I think O understands quite well that about all he can do is give historic speeches with a beautiful timbre and cadence — really, he should have replaced Don LaFontaine when the latter died. So his best chance for not having it all come apart (although I don’t think he cares about that, vide supra) is to just stand astride some great grand realigning bunting-draped candle-lit social Ponzi scheme, the kind of behemoth that doesn’t, by virtue of its sheer enormity, prove beyond question to be a Titanic in a field of icebergs until you are safely retired and can muddy the waters arguing your idiot successors messed up on the follow-through.
Like any practised con-man, I think O is a cool customer. I think he’ll figure the angles very well, and come out personally on top. It’s his pathetic supporters who are going to be cleaning tire tracks off their backs.