But, oh, Bruni. I mean, there's other stuff here (do we really want to equate a speaker at the inauguration with the Secretary of Defense?). The bit that set me off, however, was:
Democrats came out of the 2012 elections looking good, and the country’s changing demographics suggest that they could come out of 2016 and beyond looking even better, especially if Republicans don’t accomplish a pretty thorough image overhaul. And that overhaul isn’t exactly proceeding at a breakneck pace. The perseverance of far-right obstructionists in the House stands in the way, leaving the party in grave trouble. If its foes were smart and humble, they’d do what a sports team with a big lead does. They’d play error-free ball.
Well, sorry, but (1) no one plays "error-free ball"; (2) the kinds of errors he's talking about here aren't very important; and (3) the reason you run for office and win isn't to wait out the clock and keep everything exactly the same in order to assure re-election. Play error-free ball? That's the most foolish advice I've ever heard for a president beginning a second term.
Indeed, the history of presidential appointments suggests that the kinds of errors Bruni is talking about here are massively overrated, and in fact trying to avoid them is a bigger problem than the problems themselves, most of which are forgotten within days. That's because intense vetting scares away good candidates and slows down the nomination process.
Sure, he has every right to oppose Chuck Hagel on the merits. But to conclude from the Hagel nomination and from the cancelled Giglio gig that one should have "serious pause about the delicacy with which Obama and his allies, no longer worried about his re-election, are operating" is worse than silly.