The people around Obama are romantics. They dream of Obama as a transformational figure, looming large on history’s stage. They see Clinton as at best a transitional figure, whose poll-tested pragmatism and incremental policies loom small.
The staff of a winning presidential candidate is a cult. When the candidate wins, the cult usually follows him to the West Wing. That happened with Clinton, and it has happened even more with Obama.
But Clinton discovered he needed good advice more than he needed a cult. He came to feel boxed in by those he called “these kids who got me elected” — aides who sat for flattering media profiles and who fancied themselves the indispensable keepers of the campaign faith.