In David Samuels’s valuable New York Times Magazine profile of Obama administration national security adviser Ben Rhodes, Rhodes presents with a mind that is said to have “melded” with that of President Obama. I think that Rhodes proves this to be untrue in one relevant respect.
Rhodes and Obama have rightly sized up their media interlocutors as young ignoramuses and/or valued tools disseminating the administration’s line. Samuels shows Rhodes crowing how he has used both the young ignoramuses and their more senior colleagues such as the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. I think Goldberg falls into the category of valued tool.
The media have a hard time reporting on Samuels’s profile or Samuels’s profile or Rhodes’s reflections. As Lee Smith shows,. Rhodes has deeply wounded them. He has damaged their pride and self-love. He shouldn’t oughta have done it. He is an arrogant punk.
If there is a first rule of politics, it must be not to expose your friends as fools. Rhodes has violated the rule in an almost shocking manner. It serves neither him nor, more importantly, his master. It is a mistake of the kind that Obama himself would never make and you can be sure that Obama has let him know it in one way or another.