Obama got a little cranky with a Texas news reporter this week. The reporter was pretty respectful, but challenged a few things Obama said, and he didn’t like that one bit. Obama, one must recall, was a state senator in a one party town, a US Senator in a one party state, and was elected through smoke, mirrors, and glittering generalities, after the grim crucible of semi-rock-star status among fawning law students and wildly liberal Democrats in Hyde Park, Chicago. I know, I was there, and most professors rarely dealt with harsh criticism from students and peers, particularly someone like Obama, whose self-selected seminar-style classes were mostly made up of committed liberals who thought he was the s**t even back then.
Ace points out what happens when the failing president leaves the bubble:
When Watson persisted, Obama said, “I just said that was wrong,” and, later, “I just said that wasn’t true.”
I think he’s talking about the politically-motivated decision to send one of the retired Space Shuttles to NYC instead of the more-deserving Houston, but it sort of doesn’t matter — it could be about anything. His petulance and lack of adult-level conflict-navigation skills are on display.
Obama does not do well when challenged, whether by people or circumstances. One can hardly blame him; he’s hardly had to face any challenges in his life and so he’s never developed the coping skills most people pick up by their early teens. Although previously praised for having a “first class temperament” and preternatural cool, he doesn’t — almost everyone can appear charming and even masterful in easy situations.
I never lose my cool when buying coffee at Dunkin Donuts, for example. I don’t get angry or seem desperate. Because… it’s not a difficult situation to face.
And pretty much that’s been Obama’s life. The toughest thing he’s faced is dealing gracefully with being overpraised. His skill in dealing with challenge is mostly restricted to charmingly deflecting compliments and flattery.
2008 won’t be like 2012 in that respect. The national media is all-in with Obama, and will do what it can to shield him, coddle him, as he’s used to; but not everyone out there will be on Team Obama, and some reporters (like this local guy in Texas) might actually decide to do their jobs and, as they say, “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
And Obama won’t handle that well. He never has responded well to criticism.