Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates went after the Obama administration quite hard in his new book about his days working for Obama. And now Obama is showing how thin-skinned he is over criticism. But the book also shows that Gates is not impressed with Obama and his people.
The good folks at The Daily Beast have culled out some key quotes showing how badly Obama reacts to criticism.
Take how Obama reacted when one of his plans for Afghanistan leaked to the press:
When the McChrystal plan for Afghanistan leaked to The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, according to the memoir, the president raged to Gates, asking, “Is it a lack of respect for me?… Do they resent that I never served in the military? Do they think because I’m young that I don’t see what they’re doing?”
Apparently, Gates had a few issues with Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid, too.
He also wasn’t exactly enamored with the idea that the calls he received from Reid had to do with Air Force objections to wind farms in Nevada, and Reid pushing him to spend DoD money on irritable-bowel-syndrome research. Gates writes, “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Gates had a few problems with the other denizens of Washington. He was none to happy to have to deal with Nancy Pelosi, for instance.
Gates went to breakfast with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi days after she said “The president’s strategy in Iraq has failed,” and “The choice is between a Democratic plan for responsible redeployment and the president’s plan for an endless war in Iraq.” Gates argued with her that President Bush and Gen. David Petraeus had enacted a change of mission and a “sustainable path forward,” but according to him, she did not care.
This led Gates to surmise that, “after all, one wouldn’t want facts and reality—not to mention national interest—to intrude upon partisan politics, would one?”
Later, Pelosi is briefed on the timetable for drawdowns in Iraq, during which she was informed that roughly 50,000 troops would remain in Iraq through 2011. Gates describes that she “alternately looked like she had swallowed an entire lemon and like she was simply going to explode.”
Finally, Gates was not at all impressed by Obama and his crew…
Whether it was his age (his nickname in the Obama administration became Yoda) or that he was a remnant of the Bush administration, Gates writes that he initially felt somewhat out of place. When he was in meetings during the first half-year and staffers would hit the Bush team, Gates wondered, “Am I invisible?” He disapproved of their arguments that the Bush team had destroyed relations around the world, and writes that “discussions in the Situation Room allowed no room for discriminating analysis: Everything was awful, and Obama and his team had arrived just in time to save the day.”
He also was concerned about what he saw as too much of a focus on politics. During an early meeting about Afghanistan, he was disappointed that the president focused on how Democrats and Republicans in Congress would react, and that Vice President Joe Biden “was especially emphatic about the reaction of the Democratic ‘base’.” He described the White House as “running scared.”
What do you think? Are YOU impressed by Obama and his crew? Yeah, me either. Tell us in the comments.
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