Where is Casey Stengel when we need him? In 1962, as the manager of the brand new and determinedly hapless New York Mets — 40 wins, 120 losses — he looked up and down his bench one dismal day and wondered, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” That phrase kept coming at me recently as I watched the impressively inept performance of the Obama administration in both foreign and domestic policy. On a given day, this administration makes the ’62 Mets look good.
On one level, it would be reassuring — and much more credible — if the White House admitted that Obama is more in the loop than he has let on. On another level, it would be disconcerting: Is it better that he didn’t know about his administration’s missteps — or that he knew about them and didn’t stop them?
Or that he fomented them.
The center-right is not being left behind. Bret Stephens presents a lengthy list of quotations which create an impression of a White House uninterested in the process of governing but vitally interesting in holding the reins of power for its own sake. I don’t believe that’s an impression that the Obama Administration should wish to convey. Even at the expense of acknowledging what the president does, indeed, know and that he has actually made some mistakes.