It's a disease peculiar to politicians. I frequently refer to the famous quote, "If only I could have talked to Hitler! This could have been avoided!" Politicians think they can talk anyone into anything; they think that they are such masters of persuasion that even hardcore enemies will melt at the first handshake.
Obama ran on trying to increase America's reputation with the rest of the world, on trying to "undo the damage" supposedly done by George W. Bush and his cowboy antics.
The problem is, it's crap.
A good politician can indeed persuade others to see his point of view. But those others have to first agree to the same set of rules as the politician doing the talking: we disagree only on the particulars. The problem comes--as in the case of the lament of that egotistical US Senator--when the other party doesn't agree to the rules. Or, worse, when the other party holds to the rules only as long as is convenient for him.
Example: Hitler's treaty with Russia. Hitler sought--and got--that treaty solely to keep the Russians off his butt while he took Poland. He knew he couldn't take Russia before solidifying his grip on Poland; and so he used the "international peace process" to ensure Russia would not act before Hitler was ready for it.
(Hitler should not, in fact, have attacked Russia at all; but that's a discussion for another time.)
Reagan was pilloried in the US press for refusing to play the arms race the way the USSR wanted. Reagan went ahead with SDI and with missile systems "everyone" said would just piss off Russia and possibly spark a war; yet because Reagan played his own game, the USSR is no more. The traditional arms limitation process worked in the USSR's favor; Reagan's strategy did not. Reagan's opponents thought he should talk, not act; that a reasoned discussion among the right people (which Reagan was not) would lead to nuclear disarmament and world peace.
Obama is no exception to this mindset: he thinks that if he does the talking, the insane islamo-psychos will slap their heads and say, "Oh, shit! Why didn't you just say that? We had no idea you guys were so reasonable and nice!"
They won't, of course, because they know better than to listen to a person they've identified as their enemy. Obama may be more to their liking than a pro-defense Republican, but that doesn't mean they like him. They prefer Obama because it's natural to prefer that your enemy be led by a weakling, an idiot, or some combination.
Obama, of course, thinks these people are agreeing with him because he's such a smooth talker--when in fact he is playing right into their hands.
But there's an upside:
Obama wants to have a talk with Republicans. Limbaugh advises the Republicans not to participate, and I agree, because at the very least it'll give Obama too much political cover for the failure of ObamaCare. But that's not what I'm talking about.
No: Obama thinks all he has to do is talk to the Republicans and they'll uncritically support his efforts.
In fact the Obama White House consistently shows this: health care reform, Boss Tweek told us in the SOTU speech, failed only because it he didn't explain it well enough to the American people.
The White House believes their guy is the best orator in decades. They think that Obama can't lose if he can talk to his opponents.
But it's not so; it's arrogance and it's condescension.
As long as the Republicans continue to stick to their guns, Obama won't get the political cover he craves. And hopefully, Obama and his staff will continue to wonder, "Why don't they get it? Didn't we explain it the right way?" Because as long as they think that way, they're going to stumble over it, and it's going to make their aspirations more difficult to realize.