This is a revealing piece in POLITICO by writer James Hohmann, who draws on three insider books about President Obama to draw some early reads on the man and his ruling clique. The books are the latest by Bob Woodward and earlier ones by liberal columnist Jonathan Alter and former car czar Steven Rattner.
From the piece:
He’s confident verging on cocky, and truly close with a mere handful of advisers. He delivers a quiet, icy stare when he gets angry.
And for a man who swore to change “politics as usual” in Washington, President Barack Obama’s aides were blatantly political when it came to discussing the Afghanistan war — endlessly gaming out how various military options would play with voters.
Obama’s a calm and sure-footed decision-maker, but his aloofness can put a chilly distance between leader and led (liberal columnist Jonathan Alter). It ended up costing the country billions of dollars in missed opportunities to work with the Bush administration on bailouts (ex-car czar Steven Rattner). And it’s alienated advisers who never were part of the club (Woodward)
Five main conclusions:
1) Obama’s world is more dramatic than he would like us to think.
2) White House officials are pretty unabashed about discussing the politics of national security.
3) White House discussions about the auto industry were politicized, too.
4) The boss is cerebral or aloof, depending on your perspective.
5) Obama’s campaign staffers watch each other’s backs.