[T]he Obama administration ... shares some of the blame [for its growing unpopularity].
Many of them have been too focused on governing to explain what the fuck they're doing. There's a technocratic arrogance to them at times that is too blind to winning and sustaining arguments and narratives. And this is kinda mind-blowing because the record is so remarkable in retrospect.
I sympathize with Sullivan's exasperation over the pronounced a-political strains of the Obama presidency. Although it's in office principally to govern, the administration embodies an almost weird aversion to self-praise. And in the annals of American chief executives, that's as unheard-of as Rick Perry's cognitive fluidity.
On the other hand, I find Sullivan's adjectival pejorative (or at least I think it was meant as a pejorative) -- technocratic arrogance -- mystifying. There is, true enough, rarely cause to admire arrogance, but the Obama administration's marked inclination to a technocratic competence (somewhat redundantly) is, to my way of thinking, a most admirable presidential trait -- especially subsequent to the truly "mind-blowing," ideological incompetence of the Bush administration.
Technocracy is just another word for pragmatism: rule by experts denuded of any doctrinaire prejudices. Can some technocrats be arrogant? One might as well ask if they're human. Any personality foibles are exceeded, however, by their rather quiet diligence in just getting the job done, which the Obama administration's pragmatic technocrats have accomplished, as Sullivan offers, "so remarkabl[y]."
Having said that, it also remains unquestionable that Obama must now escalate his political rhetoric -- which, pragmatically, he appears to be in the process of doing.