|A sad bride who's groom ran off to attend a Tea Party|
Heads of State understand that there is no benefit in holding summits that yield no results, and so they lay a lot of groundwork so they don't walk into public relations disasters.
He must have thought that the force of his personality and arguments could carry the day.
Considering his background one can see where such arrogance could come from. When he ran the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, his most significant pre-governmental job, people were forced to approach him as supplicants. They weren't negotiating with him, they were merely currying favor.
He became a State Senator, and later a Federal Senator, through the machinations of the the Chicago machine which eliminated any credible opponents. Once in those seats he simply voted "present" to duck difficult votes. I imagine the size of his desk was of more interest to him than the tedium of give and take in a committee room.
Once President he foolishly poisoned the well with his "I won" and "elections have consequences" talk. Such overbearing hubris is consistent with somebody who can't imagine they'll have to horse trade with another side. You can say that to somebody looking for grant money from the Annenberg Challenge, to say it to people with power centers of their own is a miscalculation of the first order.
In the ObamaCare debate, had Obama had any negotiating skills he would have given concessions around the edges to gain Republican votes and cover. He didn't, and it cost him dearly at the midterm elections, and may mean ObamaCare is a far more transient achievement than he imagines.
When he entered into the deficit talks he must have thought he was the cavalry riding to the rescue. He would use the prestige of the Office of the President to browbeat his opponents into settling on his terms. The problem is, the other side knew how to negotiate and had a plan, while he just had little but an inflated opinion of his skills.
So they gave him their red lines and walked away, and he responded with petulant press conferences and demands that they return to the table. Rinse, wash and repeat several times over the course of a couple of weeks. Each time Obama doesn't realize how he diminishes himself.
My favorite line at the last press conference was when he complained, "I’ve been left at the altar.” Does he not know that jilted brides are not images of power? With that line he both insulted himself far more succinctly than his opponents have ever managed, and revealed his increasing irrelevance to the process.