Salena Zito

  Jackson understood the value of being told “no.” Not particularly trusting of his official Cabinet, he instead relied on a group of men – dubbed the "Kitchen Cabinet” by his critics – to help formulate his policies.

  Obama apparently feels no such distrust toward his cabinet; his problem is that too many sycophants surround him in the White House.

  A survey of several insider-Democrats shows that most believe the Obama White House has suffered from a chilling lack of people who can tell the president “no,” ever since Rahm Emanuel left as the president’s chief of staff to become Chicago’s mayor.

  One big reason why President Obama has dived in opinion polls is that his most trusted advisers, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, live in “liberal La-La-Land,” in the words of one of the Democrats’ top strategists.

  A perfect example is the re-election campaign the president is running: It is completely illogical for him to lurch as far left as he has in recent weeks; a smart politician does that only in a primary race during which he fires up his base, then runs to the middle in the general election.

  It’s a great strategy for winning the first time you run for office. Not so much, when you run for re-election.

  President Obama cannot win re-election in 2012 without the support of independent voters and Jacksonian Democrats who already suspect he is a lefty. So just who on his team considered it a good idea to remind these crucial voters of their suspicions at this juncture?

  That question goes to the heart of the point about Barack Obama and dissent: The president has no one with the intellectual integrity or the personal courage to tell him “no” – and besides, they all think just like him.

  They also all think he can do no wrong.


Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.