Boston Globe slobbers all over Barack Obama
Posted by danishova on April 7, 2009
Within a few months of a new presidency, most Americans usually have a line on their chief’s personality – a sense of his colorful foibles, annoying habits, and potential vulnerabilities.
A few words about past presidents, followed by some attempts to demonstrate that caricatures are clues to to how men govern, and the slobbering begins:
So what’s Barack Obama’s line? There isn’t one yet, and that by itself could become his line.
Obama, so far, seems to occupy a place in the popular culture beyond humor. Ridicule doesn’t touch him. His personality defies easy categorization.
Of the few running gags to emerge from the Obama administration – aides not paying their taxes, Treasury officials rewarding fat-cats – the only one that pertains to the president himself is the straight-faced devotion he inspires. Obama may not actually be perfect, but so many poor souls out there think he is.
Otherwise, Obama has successfully avoided the kind of pratfalls that loom large on TV and crystallize perceptions.
Wait! Canellos digs deep and manages to find one example which is quickly dismissed:
Once, he got caught making an unpleasant joke comparing his bad bowling skills to the Special Olympics. But he quickly apologized and no one believes that he’s habitually insensitive.
He’s come off, at times, as a bit pompous and humorless – but that perception really hasn’t taken hold. There was a point in the primary election campaign when Obama’s opponents tried to call attention to his aloofness, but as president he has actually leveraged that same dignity-bordering-on-vanity to reinforce the idea that he stands apart from the detested politics as usual.
After citing a few examples of Obama complaining we get:
Coming from some past presidents, this kind of complaining might sound self-pitying (think of Nixon or Lyndon Johnson), but Obama’s very aloofness makes his case for him: The pity is for his critics.
Are you ready for heavenly imagery?:
Obama should be able to continue to float above the fray – defying those who want to laugh with him, or at him – as long as he can maintain his air of persistence.
The president’s genius so far has been in casting his program as a pragmatic response to current emergencies and longer-term threats. His calm, serious manner, magnified by his intelligence and command over the issues, reinforces the perception of a diligent public servant at work.
There may be vanity behind it, or stubbornness, or twisting of the facts, or any of the other qualities that marked his recent predecessors. But so far, Obama has succeeded in casting himself as the ultimate straight man in American politics.
Clearly the lap-dog-in-chief only brings the morning paper to his master’s feet and never actually reads, say, Iain Martin of the Telegraph U.K., or bloggers like Ed Morrisey and his Obamateurism of the Day, Rush Limbaugh’s devastating parodies, Michelle Malkin’s snorts, Mark Steyn’s witty smackdowns, or Barack’s Telemprompter (to name a few examples of the hordes of critics who are on to Obama) not to mention the endless ridicule piled on by ordinary citizens like myself.
It’s a dog’s life.