On Sunday, President Obama did an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd. During that interview, Todd quizzed Obama going golfing just minutes after giving a statement to the press about the ISIS beheading of James Foley. Obama answered: “You know, it is always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation, because you’re followed everywhere and part of what I’d love is a vacation from the press.”
Poor Mr. President. Besieged by that awful press corps – the same press corps that got you elected twice by ignoring your incompetence and malicious undermining of American interests.
Lately, Obama sounds more and more like the celebrities with whom he so loves to hobnob. Celebrities require media scrutiny to become stars, then object every time a camera shows up within a hundred yards; Obama is the same way.
In recent weeks, however, President Obama seems to have come down with an early case of the presidential seven-year-itch: he appears bored with the job, frustrated with its burdens, and annoyed that he is expected to make crucial decisions.
The things about the job that used to charm him now annoy him. “Part of this job is also the theater of it,” he sighed to Todd. “It’s not something that always comes naturally to me. But it matters, and I’m mindful of that.” But the theater of the job was the only part of the job at which Obama was eminently qualified. He has always loved the optics of being president: the perks of Air Force One, the cheering throngs hanging on his every word, the power of being the president. This is a man who gave his nomination acceptance speech in a faux Greek pantheon before 60,000 screaming acolytes.
And now he’s bored with it.
The same is true with regard to the 24/7 media. His comments to Todd were not his first on the subject of supposed media overkill: just last week, Obama explained that “the world’s always been messy…we’re just noticing now in part because of social media.” He continued, “If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart.” But President Obama has thrived because of social media – his 2008 and 2012 election victories were deeply intertwined with his campaigns’ mastery of social media. Now, however, when things just aren’t going his way, social media is the rationale.
Even on racial matters, Obama’s enthusiasm has waned. Whereas the President once jumped into racial conflagrations with both feet – declaring the Cambridge Police stupid and Trayvon Martin his imaginary son – in Ferguson, Missouri, Obama instead dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder to do the race-baiting. Aside from Holder’s ridiculous involvement in a local law enforcement issue with no evidence of federal race criminality, Obama’s tepid response to Ferguson enraged his own supporters, who could not understand where his passion went (although, to be fair, the rest of America was thrilled that Obama’s newfound apathy extended as far as Ferguson, given that the alternative was divisive racial rhetoric).
And then there’s the actual hard work of being president. For years, observers have described Obama as detached. In October 2013, the New York Times reported that while Obama’s cabinet considered Syria policy, “current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.”
That’s nothing new. Gwen Ifill, an ally of the president, reviewed David Remnick’s book on Obama, stating:
If he can’t be in control, he is ready to move on. Remnick mentions frequently how easily Obama can get bored. He was bored at Occidental, the first college he attended; bored at the University of Chicago, where as a teacher he focused on writing his first book; bored in the Illinois Senate; and even bored in the U.S. Senate, where he was more interested in writing his second book.
Perhaps control is the issue for President Obama. He may have finally realized that his magical rhetorical powers cannot convince the world to do his bidding; he may have finally realized that the American people are not convinced of his world-changing domestic agenda.
Whatever the rationale, Obama appears increasingly disconnected, and is likely to become even more so over time – with particularly disastrous consequences for foreign policy, where apathy translates to inaction, which in turn translates to more aggressive enemies of the United States.
According to a July poll from Fox News, 41 percent of Americans think Obama does not “want to be president anymore.” That includes 47 percent of independents.
Obama may be among them.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro