04 Jun 2012

The Superhero That Failed

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True Believer Maureen Dowd is unable to avoid recognizing that the Obama presidency has been a disaster, that the left is going to lose in November. She wants to win, and she can’t quite understand why the hot air, hype, and infantile fantasies that were streaming after Barack Obama’s candidacy failed to translate into glory and success.

On Friday night, the nation’s capital was under a tornado watch. And that was the best thing that happened to the White House all week. …

The president who started off with such dazzle now seems incapable of stimulating either the economy or the voters. …

Once glowing, his press is now burning. “To a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear,” John Heilemann wrote in New York magazine, noting that because Obama feels he can’t run on his record, his campaign will resort to nuking Romney. …

The president had lofty dreams of playing the great convener and conciliator. But at a fund-raiser in Minneapolis, he admitted he’s just another combatant in a capital full of Hatfields and McCoys. No compromises, just nihilism. …

In his new biography, “Barack Obama: The Story,” David Maraniss writes that a roommate of the young Obama compared him to Walker Percy’s protagonist in “The Moviegoer”: an observer of his life, one step removed. …

His New York girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, told Maraniss that Obama confessed to her that “he felt like an impostor. Because he was so white. There was hardly a black bone in his body.” …

On CNBC on Friday, Romney complained that Obama has “been more focused on his perspective of his historic legislative achievements than he has been focused on getting people back to work.”

A president focused on historic achievements? Imagine that. But in his lame way, Romney got at Obama’s problem: The Moviegoer prefers to float above, at a reserve, in grandiose mists.

As Maraniss recounts, Obama said he liked reading Hemingway because of Papa’s “integrity of grasping for those times, those visions, that are ones of true magnificence and profundity.”

Cook told Maraniss that she thought Obama’s desire to “play out a superhero life” was “a very strong archetype in his personality.”

But superheroes and mythic figures must boldly lead. Obama’s caution — ingrained from a life of being deserted by his father and sometimes his mother, and of being, as he wrote to another girlfriend, “caught without a class, a structure, or tradition to support me” — has restrained him at times.

In some ways, he’s still finding himself, too absorbed to see what’s not working. But the White House is a very hard place to go on a vision quest, especially with a storm brewing.

I think as we get closer to the Fall election and political polling increasingly accurately reflects the mood of the country, we are going to get to read a lot more examples of this kind of navel-gazing by the left-wing commentariat.

“We had a wonderful campaign in 2008. We did such an excellent job of manipulating words, images, and emotions. That is what politics is about. That is what effective leadership is. How can it be that the economy failed to recover and the American people actually resisted accepting the transformation of America into a European-style Welfare State?

Everything went wrong, and we simply cannot understand why.

There must have been some fatal flaw somewhere. Let’s comb through some more major novels and see if we can find it. Perhaps Obama was really Holden Caulfield… no, wait, he must have been Jay Gatsby!…”


More GOP snark:

Ed Driscoll:

Wow, a Chicago machine hack politician with enough identity shifts and name changes to make Don Draper seem like a model citizen, who’s chums with a former terrorist and a racist pastor right out of Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic and who nonchalantly admits to eating dogs in his(?) autobiography is a nihilist who’s only in it for himself. Who saw that coming?

(Almost half the country, as it turns out. I suspect that number will “grow” even larger in the coming years, as former Obama voters in 2008 slowly begin to do a reverse Pauline Kael on the man: Barack Obama? Nobody I knew voted for him…)


Bryan Preston:

How must it feel for Maureen Dowd to realize that she is just now figuring out what Sarah Palin and millions of Americans figured out years ago?

2 Feedbacks on "The Superhero That Failed"


The blind side of liberalism is, and always has been, that it sees itself fighting a war of ideas rather than a war of accomplishment.

The liberal Utopia is presented as a tug of war between the virtuous left and the scurrilous right. The idea that the Utopia is unattainable or that the side effects of trying –e.g. loss of liberty, slow economic growth — might outweigh the purported benefits are dismissed. Forward!

Except that all around the world, the ideas are running up against reality. The price of ignoring the economics of an entitlement state is indeed high. Gulp. We are, in fact, running out of other people’s money to spend. Gulp. Green energy is horribly inefficient. Gulp. Reducing the work years to ages 25-55 means that there are fewer people producing for others to consume. Gulp. The Chinese are more interested in raising living standards than in reducing their carbon footprint. Gulp. Bigger government causes slower economic growth, which means less to tax to grow government. Gulp. You cannot change the laws of economics with a Teleprompter. Gulp.

The Big Gulps are becoming ever more numerous. Except in New York, where liberals will simply outlaw them.

William Laffer

Perhaps they should call in Naomi Wolf. I’m sure she can sort it all out.


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