Quite often I feel like I am one of the few people in the country for whom the President of the United States is not an inscrutable personality. I never feel like I don’t know where he stands. He almost never surprises me. I almost always feel like I know what he is up to. Maybe it is because I share some common history with him, but I always find it strange when I see people say that they think the president is some kind of cipher.

The paranoia is easy to dismiss when it comes from the right, but it is often baffling to me when it comes from the left. Why do people underestimate this man? Did any prominent pundits predict that he would defeat Hillary Clinton and win the nomination? When Scott Brown won Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, who thought that health care reform would still pass? The day he died, does anyone think Usama bin-Laden had even the slightest premonition that he was about to die? How was it that Team Romney convinced themselves that they were anything other than doomed?

Obama crushes his opponents and, in my experience, his opponents rarely even see their defeat coming. Whether it is Somali pirates or Gaddafi or some stupid warlord making trouble in Mali, or the inebriated Speaker of the House, there never seems to be any profit in pissing off the president.

Even whistleblowers and do-gooders are unlikely to confront the man without finding themselves on the wrong side of a sledgehammer. I’m not saying that it’s all good. I just don’t find it to be a mystery.

Lincoln had his habeas corpus, Teddy had his imperialism, Wilson had his Birth of a Nation, FDR had his internment camps, Ike had his coups, LBJ had his Vietnam, Nixon had his Watergate, Carter had his total failure, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Poppy had his economy, Clinton had his affair, Dubya had his epic failure on every level. You can find plenty to pin on our current president, but you cross him at your peril.

And that is mostly a good thing.

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