On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2009—just five months into his administration—Barack Obama invited a small group of presidential historians to dine with him in the Family Quarters of the White House. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, personally delivered the invitations with a word of caution: the meeting was to remain private and off the record. As a result, the media missed the chance to report on an important event, for the evening with the historians provided a remarkable sneak preview of why the Obama presidency would shortly go off the rails.
Today, with Mr. Obama in full campaign mode, that event—as well as two more unreported White House dinners with the historians—is worth examining. Together, they shed light on the reason this president is likely to find it much harder than he expects to connect with the public and win reelection to the White House.
At the time of the first dinner, the new president was still enjoying a honeymoon period with the American people; according to Gallup, 63 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing. Brimming with self-confidence, Mr. Obama had earlier confided to David Axelrod, his chief political strategist: “The weird thing is, I know I can do this job. I like dealing with complicated issues. I’m happy to make decisions.…I think it’s going to be an easier adjustment for me than the campaign. Much easier.”
That the adjustment from campaigner to chief executive would prove harder—much harder—than anticipated had still not dawned on Mr. Obama when he sat down to dine with the historians. He was in an expansive... Read more: What do historians really think of Obama? | Fox News