They have what is called “tenure”: no one can get them out.
Mr Obama went into the contest that ends on Tuesday believing that he, too, had tenure. The White House was his. The election, like those bogus selection processes for top public sector jobs when the winner has been pre-decided, was little more than a tiresome formality.
In the first debate, when Mr Romney attacked him and proposed himself as a man with interesting answers, Mr Obama looked shocked at the challenger’s effrontery. Ever since then, he has had to wake up and fight back. He has certainly performed much better. But he still speaks as if he thinks his main qualification for the job is that he has it already. In this time of immense economic difficulty, incumbency should have few rights. You have to listen very carefully to get any idea at all of what the president proposes to do with the four more years to which he feels so strongly entitled.
In Britain and, even more, in continental Europe, the people who bring their fellow citizens the news do not really see this. To them, Mr Obama’s combination of historically persecuted ethnicity and posh seminar tone is just perfect. It satisfies their mildly Left-wing consciences and fits in with their cultural assumptions. The chief of these is that the excesses of the West, especially of America, are the biggest problem in the world. Mr Obama comes as near to saying this as anyone trying to win American votes ever could. His “apology tour” to the Middle East early in his presidency remains, for the European elites, the best thing he has ever done. He is the anti-Americans’ American.
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