That’s Obama showing his thin-skinned self in Robert Gates’ self-serving memoir, taking standard Washington politics personally.
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?”
And then there was Harry “Cowboy Poetry Pork” Reid.
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.”
There are also fond memories of Nancy Pelosi.
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.”
Or it may have just been her latest Botox injections.
While all this is fun and games, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Gates is as much a part of the political circus as any of the men and women he takes shots at.