On April 3 of this year, i.e. well after the election and inauguration, one of President Obama's former colleagues has this to say about him.
His speech is completely inconsistent with his political record. As a member of the Senate he had the most left wing voting record of anyone there. More so than people like Hillary Clinton. And that is, of course, the way he moves
Obama worked as a community organizer and was in many cases very constructive. He organized public/private partnerships to help the homeless and downtrodden.
But, the difficulty you get, for someone who has only worked in that situation, is that he believes the creation of private wealth is something the government cannot influence or destroy. He has many fancy redistribution schemes, in addition to his health plan and new labor laws, which are all wealth killers.
He is about to engage in a series of proposals to redistribute wealth that we do not have.
His mind is pretty good, but it is a clever "means-ends" mind. He has never written a scholarly article in his entire life....
His positions are not close to the middle, and so he sees no reason to compromise with Republicans unless and until they can mount a veto threat in the Senate. He is very, very dogmatic about his substantive positions. He knows what he believes and he knows why he believes it, and it is extremely difficult for people on the outside to change his mind.
The fundamental mistake of his entire world view is that he treats contracts as devices for exploitation and not as devices for mutual gain, and he assumes that redistribution can take place without any negative impact upon production.
If you live in that kind of a fairy land, which I think he does, every one of his major social and economic initiatives are going to misfire. And, if they succeed, God forbid, in getting through, they are going to intensify the downturn that we have already experienced. He is the wrong guy for the job based on his intellectual format. The question is whether you can force him back.
He is a man on the left who will, if necessary, throw bones to the center. He is not a man from the center. Some of the appointments of his may sound centrist.
That said, this makes him both vulnerable and dangerous: vulnerable because of his inability to compromise, dangerous because of his dogma. We may be faced with a President unable to make needed compromises internationally, while at the same time unable to change policies that lead to disaster because they would mean that his dogmatic beliefs would be called into jeopardy.
Dangerous times indeed.