Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If Obama is an introvert, how big a problem is that?

John McWhorter — who just last month was still making the case that Obama has done a "good job" as president — says he's finally become "truly unhappy for the first time" with Obama as President:

Here's my own partial transcription of McWhorter's points:

I'm beginning to realize that there really are some serious problems here. . . .

This was something I didn't realize was going to matter as much as it has: he's not really a people person. . . . He hasn't developed the chummy, cordial relationships with key people in Congress that really is part of getting past gridlock. Personal relationships are not everything, but they matter. . . .

He kind of keeps to himself. He is a cerebral person. He is somewhat detached. In that, I've always kind of liked him, probably because I am that. But I'm not President, and never will be. And I think that his personal quality means that he is disliked by people like John Boehner. . . .

And, you know, that can't change. You can't fake being somebody who likes to press the flesh.

Do you also notice that you're hearing that he doesn't like being President, which is one of the saddest things I've ever heard? I mean, who would want that job? Part of the reason you like it is because you like the pressing of flesh and the having some Scotch in the office, talking to Tip O'Neill, etc. That is not him. And if you're not going to like it, that's going to "tell on you" after a while. . . . He's not personally up for the job.
Glenn Loury refers to this Politico article, which gives a list of anecdotes like this:
The president invited Senate chairmen and ranking members over for dinner in March 2009 but came in after they were seated and went back to the residence without shaking hands or visiting each table.

One well-known Democrat summed up the cost of the slights and the seeming indifference to basic political courtesies this way: “These are little things that are not going to affect public perceptions. But it affects the infrastructure of how you put together a campaign. These are the people that you need to raise money, to give money, to organize, to show up, to speak out.”