It's almost enough to evoke sympathy: the entire journalistic world poring over President Obama's post-election comments and applying a humility meter to his words, his facial expressions, and his mood. Does he get it? Is he sufficiently abashed by the voters' rebuke?
But just when you think the guy has suffered enough, he short-circuits your pity. Traveling in India, the president misinterpreted the comments of an Indian businessman in a way that reveals his tenacious self-worship. As Jake Tapper reported, Mr. Bhupendra Kansagra, founder of SpiceJet, greeted the president: "Welcome, Mr. President, to India. As a fellow Kenyan, I'm very proud to see that you have made ..." at which point Obama interrupted to say "made something of myself." Kansagra finished the sentence: "... India as the focus of your drive for exports out of the U.S." Sheesh.
At another venue, the president offered his highest praise to Mohandas Gandhi, explaining that "Throughout my life, including my work as a young man on behalf of the urban poor, I have always found inspiration in the life of Gandhiji and in his simple and profound lesson to be the change we seek in the world. I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world."
So whom was he praising -- Gandhi or himself? Everything -- including the contribution of world historical figures -- is still all about Obama. As a wag once said about Bill Clinton "He needs to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral."
As to whether the president "gets it" about the midterms, it doesn't matter. As Bill Kristol has observed, Obama is not in the same position as President Clinton was in 1994. Hillarycare was defeated. President Clinton was thus free to let voters know that he had gotten the message and would never try anything like that again. And he didn't.
But Obamacare (and stimulus, and cap and trade in the House, and fin reg, and the car bailouts) did pass. And many a "courageous" (Obama's description) Democrat suffered defeat because he/she voted for them. With the exception of cap and trade, these are now the laws of the land. Even if he wanted to -- and he absolutely does not -- he couldn't abandon those legislative "accomplishments." Imagine the storyline: "President Obama today acknowledged that Obamacare, the legislation to which he devoted 14 months of his presidency -- and for which he sacrificed his commitment to 'transparency' and open government -- was a mistake."