Peggy Noonan talks about failure of leadership — in both parties — but this astonishing excerpt from Ron Suskind’s Obama interview is what particularly grabbed me.
I return to Ron Suskind’s book, “Confidence Men.” As noted last week, Mr. Suskind has been criticized for getting quotes and facts wrong. But the White House hasn’t disputed his interview with Mr. Obama, who had some remarkable things to say.
It turns out he too is obsessed with The Narrative. Mr. Suskind asked him why his team had difficulty creating a policy to deal with unemployment. Mr. Obama said some of it was due to circumstances, some to the complexity of the problem. Then he added: “We didn’t have a clean story that we wanted to tell against which we would measure various actions.” Huh? It wasn’t “clean,” he explained, because “what was required to save the economy might not always match up with what would make for a good story.”
Throughout the interview the president seems preoccupied with “shaping a story for the American people.” He says: “The irony is, the reason I was in this office is because I told a story to the American people.” But, he confesses, “that narrative thread we just lost” in his first years.