The stories abound of the American President who found himself insulated from his Cabinet and other major policy advisers, thanks to the work done by a small, insular group of staffers, most of whom found their way to the President’s side thanks to the fact that they hail from the same geographic location as him. As a consequence of their work, the Administration has lost its way, former allies feel alienated, and people wonder whether truth is being spoken to power at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, given that the President now appears to be isolated, and living in a bubble.
Are we talking about George W. Bush? Nope. Barack Obama.
The thought of having Katrina Vanden Heuvel as a member of some “Team B” program is, of course, ridiculous. But the rest of the piece is quite interesting. Those who believed that President Obama would run an open White House where all sorts of ideas would be welcomed, are in for a surprise.
More on this issue from Andrew Malcolm, who notes, as others do, that many of the people who spoke out against the current White House setup did so anonymously, for fear of retribution from the Emanuel-Axelrod-Gibbs-Jarrett Foursome. The fact that people are afraid to tell the President that there is something wrong will do nothing, of course, to help him regain his bearings.
UPDATE: As valuable as the insights are that the President is now surrounded by a group dedicated to insulating him from the opinions of others, perhaps–as Mickey Kaus notes–the President should take some of the blame as well for this state of affairs.