Recounting various failures of Obama’s rhetoric to accomplish anything–from Copenhagen on the Olympics to Iran–Bret Stephens’ timely editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal reminds us that Obama’s fatal weakness is his own and his supporters’ unshakeable faith in his powers of persuasion:
He seems to have come to office believing that America’s problems abroad could mainly be put down to the rough-edged persona of his predecessor. Change the president, change the tone, give magnificent speeches, tinker with the policy, and the world would revert to some default mode of liking America and wanting to work with it. It doesn’t work that way. Nor does it work in domestic policy, where personal salesmanship has failed to overcome the defects of legislation. Americans still generally like Mr. Obama, or at least they’d like to like him. It’s the $12 trillion deficit and Rube Goldberg health schemes that rub them wrong.
So what’s Copenhagen Syndrome? It is a belief in your own miracles. It is thinking that those who crowned you king actually knew what they were doing. It is buying into your own tulip bulb mania. It is the floating evanescent bubble of self. God help you when it bursts.
Incidentally, I wrote something on this earlier this year, and it’s notable that Obama’s experience with the presidency is much like the rest of his life: a series of attainments but few achievements, exactly what one would expect from a smooth-talker who time and experience have repeatedly revealed is basically a sophist.