Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Friday, July 22, 2011

How Can We NOT Love Obama

 I'm posting this to tick off the righties who lurk here.

 Stephen Marche, writing last week in Esquire:

"Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, before the next batch of stupid scandals and gaffes, before Sarah Palin tries to convert her movie into reality and Joe Biden resumes his imitation of an embarrassing uncle and Newt and Callista Gingrich creep us all out, can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph. Whatever happens this fall or next, the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama.

Due to the specific nature of his political calculus, possibly not a single person in the United States — not even Obama himself — agrees with all of his policies. But even if you disagree with him, even if you hate him, even if you are his enemy, at this point you must admire him. The turning point came that glorious week in the spring when, in the space of a few days, he released his long-form birth certificate, humiliated Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and assassinated Osama bin Laden. The effortlessness of that political triptych — three linked masterpieces demonstrating his total command over intellectual argument, low comedy, and the spectacle of political violence — was so overwhelmingly impressive that it made political geniuses of the recent past like Reagan and Clinton seem ham-fisted. Formed in the fire of other people’s wars, other people’s financial crises, Obama stepped out of Bush’s shadow that week, almost three years after taking over the presidency.

But even that string of successes cannot fully explain the immensity of his appeal right now. Reagan was able to call upon the classic American mythology of frontiersmen and astronauts and movie stars; Obama has accessed a much wider narrative matrix: He’s mixed and matched Jay-Z with geek with Hawaiian with Kansan with product of Middle America with product of a broken home with local Chicago churchgoer with internationally renowned memoirist with assassin. “I am large, I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy. Christopher Booker’s 2004 book The Seven Basic Plots, a wide-ranging study from the Epic of Gilgamesh on and a surprisingly convincing explanation for why we crave narrative, reduced all stories to a few plots, each with its own kind of hero. Amazingly, Barack Obama fulfills the role of hero in each of these ancient story forms.

While Obama’s story is ancient, it is also utterly contemporary, perfectly of the moment. His gift — and it is a gift that makes him emblematic — is that he inhabits all these roles without being limited by them. He has managed, miraculously, to remain something of an outsider while being the president of the United States of America, the most inside man in the world. He’s African-American, but he’s not African-American. He’s from Chicago, but he’s from Hawaii. One month he’s bailing out the banks, the next he’s keeping Gitmo open. He pushes health-care reform through with an unimpeachable heave of will then extends the tax cuts. He walks smiling through the newly opened White House garden on his way to announce renewed efforts at oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, his “balanced” approach to the economy has led to a slower recovery than other industrialized nations and the war in Libya has been half-assed at best, which is exactly what war cannot be. For two years, he seemed disingenuous and defensive, pushed into roles that his predecessors had scripted, alternately playing savior then monster. But no more. We can finally see who he is, we can finally understand the reality: In 2011, it is possible to be a levelheaded, warmhearted, cold-blooded killer who can crack a joke and write a book for his daughters. It is possible to be many things at once. And even more miraculous, it is possible for that man to be the president of the United States. Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a “world-historical soul,” an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.

We love Obama — even those who claim to despise him — because deep in our hearts and all over our lives, we’re the same way — both inside and outside our jobs, our races, our cities, our countries, ourselves. With great artists, often the most irritating feature of their work is the source of their talent. Obama’s gift is the same as his curse: He’s somehow managed to be like the rest of us, only infinitely more so.

h/t The Only Adult in the Room


Rational Nation USA said...

A+ for creative writing!

Octopus said...

RN: "A+ for creative writing!"

And a Zero for Conduct for misplaced sarcasm. Lets set the record straight:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned (U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment).

Inasmuch as all Congress Critters … including the Republican leadership, their Tea Thug colleagues, and their proto-fascist corporate benefactors … have a constitutional obligation to honor the nation’s debts, the very idea of holding the nation hostage is in itself a violation of the U.S. Constitution. So who or what holds more authority in this instance: The U.S. Constitution? Or the forever arrogant and grandiose Grover Norquist and his hostage-taking No Tax Pledge?

Another fact: The sovereign debt that has now come due is mainly Republican debt from two UNFUNDED wars, from UNFUNDED tax breaks signed into law by former GOP President George W. Bush, from UNFUNDED extensions to Medicare signed into law by the same GOP president, from UNFUNDED tax loopholes, and from TARP bailouts signed into law by… you guessed it … the same aforementioned GOP president.

Another fact: Former GOP presidents at least understood their Constitutional obligations. Under former President Reagan, the debt ceiling was raised 20 times … without conditions or exceptions or partisan hostage-taking. Under former President Bush, the debt ceiling was raised 7 times … without conditions or exceptions or partisan hostage-taking. What makes this GOP legislature different from all others?

The GOP has lost all ability to participate in a democracy with diverse constituencies and stakeholders, and have turned themselves into a proto-fascist cult employing terrorist tactics that violate their obligations pursuant to their oaths of office.

So RN, the ‘independent’ conservative, Village Idiot, or whatever you call yourself now. Read some history and get an 'edyoukayshun.'

Sue said...

Tom is right, RN is a troll and I do not find him one bit amusing!

As for this lovely, heartfelt post on our fabulous and superlicious President Barack Obama...BRAVO to you Shaw for posting this magnificent and beautifully written piece! I enjoyed it immensely and will link it on my blog!! Thank feels so good to be on the side of positive thinking!

TAO said...

The right, the republicans do not want to compromise, they hate democracy: They represent the tyranny of the minority.

Now the House Speaker has decided to do an end run around the President and pick up a couple of democrats and then ramrod a last minute solution to the debt crisis down the Presidents throat....knowing that his only option would be to veto the bill.

Call it a nuclear option if you want, but it is politics at its worst and it represents a tyranny of the minority as it goes against the expressed opinions of a majority of Americans.

Its time to acknowledge that conservatives, the right, the republicans only true goal is to destroy democracy...and this country.

Radical Redneck said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rational Nation USA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TAO said...


Here is what your John Galt/Ayn Rand believers say:

The founding fathers say pay your bills, the Ayn Rand disciples say no increase in debt limit....Obama has offered a long term solution with dramatic spending reductions and revenue increases and the right wants to compromise with a compromise...don't blame your frustration today on liberals or the left...your issues are all with the various factions that make up the right...the ones that you played a part in creating.

Rational Nation USA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Octopus said...

Rational Nation USA said...
All, read my posts, then criticize ... Your hypocrisy and elitism makes me sick! (July 23, 2011 8:02 PM)

Rational Nation USA said...
Brilliant TAO, in a totally dark enclosed room with ALL OF THE SAME LIKE MINDSET (July 24, 2011 8:27 PM)

Here is my problem with RN, one of many. The Village Idiot knows this is a liberal forum and a somewhat close-knit group. If he does not like what we say here, he does not have to come here. If our comments make him sick, he should find an ER and seek treatment. Yet, he comes here to taunt, ridicule, annoy and then INSULT the good people of this forum. This alone qualifies him as a 24 carat TROLL.

Despite repeated warnings, which he ignores assiduously, he also engages in blog whoring, as in “read my posts.” This is beyond rude. It is a violation of basic Internet etiquette that puts him in the same league as spambots and scambots.

Finally, he brings nothing to the table … no facts, no rebuttals, no references, no substantiations of any kind … just sneer and jeer.

Octopus has been absent from the blogs due to a change of residence, but I am baaaack with my tentacles on the Delete Button.

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo- Interesting how you delete but before doing so cherry pick comments to suit your biased understanding of them.

I find it quite interesting that both the left field liberals and the right field conservatives are guilty of the same thing from time.

Could it be agenda driven. Of course it is. That's what politics has always been about. Hasn't it?

Guess there is more than just the "teabaggers" be concerned with.

Have a delightful Tuesday.

Malcolm said...

This was a pretty good piece. Although I disagree with Mr. Marche when he writes, "We love Obama — even those who claim to despise him". The people who despise him ooze with hate, it's like a cancer eating them up inside. They will never love President Obama.

Shaw Kenawe said...


I saw the Pulitzer Prize historian, David McCullough on a Sunday talk show. McCullough said he greatly admires President Obama. He could have said nothing, but he commented on how well Mr. Obama is doing despite the horrendous obstacles being thrown at him by the opposition.

I listen to McCullough to him rather than the know-nothing Firebaggers and Teabaggers. Mr. McCullough has spent his life researching and writing about American presidents. For him to make that comment means more to me than a thousand malcontented posts trashing this president.

Octopus said...

Lets make sure you understand the rules of this forum:

Thou shalt not troll.
Thou shalt not blog whore.
Thou shall engageth in civil discussion without taunts or personal attacks.

Now write these on a blackboard 1,000 times until you get the message.

May flocks of incontinent birds follow you everywhere. Have a happy Hitchcock moment.

Rational Nation USA said...

Octo - As you say.

The requirement to be "politically correct", is what, in my opinion drives your responses to my comments.

Perhaps the thickness of ones skin determines the degree of "political correctness" required by any given person. I am quite sure that covers a broad range of sensitivities.

And Octo, May the same flock of birds find their way home.

Have a wonderful day of bird watching.