Mona Charen
There are many reasons President Barack Obama's presidency has proven so ineffectual even by its own standards -- boosting economic growth, improving health care, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, enhancing America's world reputation. One reason is that Obama is the most ideologically rigid president in American history. He believes in all the wrong ideas, and holds to them with mulish tenacity.

But there's a second reason that was on vivid display the past few days -- overweening arrogance. This president has no patience with attempting to solve the actual problems that afflict the people he was elected to serve. That's small beer. A great, world historical figure like himself cannot be tending to trivial matters, like whether will actually work, or whether there might be something the federal government can do to alleviate the effects of drought in California. Valerie Jarrett, the close aide who has been intimate with both Obamas for many years and is considered by many to be the most influential adviser in the White House, once described him as " ... Somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy ... He's been bored to death his whole life. He's just too talented to do what ordinary people do." Or what ordinary politicians do, apparently.

Consider the California drought. It has been a very dry year for the state of California. So severe have drought conditions become that farmers in the Central Valley, which provides one-third of the nation's fruits and vegetables, have cut back their planting by 25 percent. An estimated 600,000 acres of farmland will lie fallow this year for lack of water.

Water has always been a relatively scarce resource in California, and previous droughts have created hardship. This may well be the most rainless winter in more than 100 years. But the farmers and ranchers of California have long relied on irrigation, not just rain, for their crops, and as National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke explains, the pumps that supply the Central Valley have been dramatically curtailed for the sake of a small fish called the delta smelt. The Natural Resources Defense Council won a case against the California water system, arguing that the pumps that extract water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and send it south were "sucking in and shredding an unacceptable number of smelt." Since the Endangered Species Act covers the smelt, the pumps had to be dialed down.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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