The other day BO boasted to Jewish leaders that he knew more about Judaism than any president ever. Who says stuff like that?! It's the kind of empty, foolish, puffed up boast we expect of a little boy. But it is standard Obama boasting:
"I think I'm a better speech writer than my speech writers," he reportedly told an aide in 2008. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm . . . a better political director than my political director.Boasting like this demonstrates the kind of immaturity one would expect from a young teen who thinks it cool to give his opponent the finger on the sly to the delight of his fans. It fits the same pattern as a president who inserts himself in the official biographies of lots of other presidents.
I'm not a psychologist, psychiatrist or even a psychic, but I think all the boasting covers up a deep insecurity of a man who knows he's not very bright and has never done much. It's a pretty safe bet Barack's academic record is poor. As boastful as he is, if he'd done anything worthwhile in school, he'd have bragged about it already. Instead, he's made sure his records are sealed up tight. Bill Clinton nailed it when he said Obama is incompetent. As Bret Stephens wrote last year:
Then there is Mr. Obama as political tactician. He makes predictions that prove false. He makes promises he cannot honor. He raises expectations he cannot meet. He reneges on commitments made in private. He surrenders positions staked in public. He is absent from issues in which he has a duty to be involved. He is overbearing when he ought to be absent.For four years he's blamed Bush and cried about racism, while producing a record of staggering ineptitude. The only achievements are his record for numerous lavish vacations and the regularity of his golf outings. But this is what we should have expected from a man who thought himself worthy of an autobiography before he'd ever done anything, was unable to write it, used a ghost writer, and palmed off a work of fiction populated by imaginary characters. Obama is Gertrude Stein's Oakland. There's no there there.
However, incompetence, immaturity and a massive ego don't have to result in a meltdown. Neither does the fact that he's never been held accountable in the past. To increase the odds of him losing it at some point, add his thin skin and the Romney crucible. His thin skin is obvious. In addition to his constant blame-shifting, we can see that the president seems incapable of laughing at himself. His annual performances for the press dinner have lacked the self-deprecating humor we typically see from presidents. He simply isn't comfortable enough in his own skin.
Add the crucible of accountability. For the first time ever, Obama has had a job that comes with expectations and accountability. And despite the wet kisses the news media has given him for the last 6 years (and will undoubtedly deliver throughout the election season), he's finally going to get a legitimate accounting. Mitt Romney gave strong indications this week that he is going to force Barack to face his record and take responsibility for it on a daily basis until November. Romney appears to be an adept counter-puncher with the stomach to keep fighting in what will likely be an ugly, nasty campaign. I suspect it is going to be a new and painful experience for Barack. The pressure is going to be heavy and relentless. Some pundits already see signs of panic. It will only get worse. Especially if the president trails in the polls throughout the summer and fall.
My best guess is that if the gaffe-prone president loses it, it will come during a debate with Romney. A compliant news media and the cocoon created by White House aides may well insulate Obama from much of the sting as Mitt lays out the record for the voters. But there won't be any place to hide when the lights come on and millions tune in. And I suspect that the GOP challenger will press home his case thoroughly and doggedly. Facile efforts to wave away the record by blaming others won't work. It wouldn't surprise me to see a moment where BO will be forced to confront the staggering reality of his ineptitude in the starkest terms with nowhere to run or hide and no one to cover for him while the whole world watches. And when that moment comes, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he snarled, snapped and lashed out in his pain.
Of course, a more likely scenario would be that the 'meltdown' consists of his campaign resorting to ever more desperate attacks on the challenger during the final days. But that wouldn't be as riveting to watch.