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August 04, 2011

"... the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama" [ArthurK]

Wait, wasn't this covered on the blog back on July 12th? Yes, yes it was. But it's aging really well and today of all days, I have my own take on it.

Esquire's Stephen Marche regaled us with an amazing mash note to Pres. Obama
last month. Rarely have we seen someone hoist with their own petard with such ironic power so quickly. I can't parody this - I can't fisk it. It's Self-Parodying! It's Self-Fisking!

So here are the highlights from Marche's "How Can We Not Love Obama?"


Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, ... 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 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.


It's so hard. It's so hard to not rip into this for 20 paragraphs...


... Bill Clinton, who said about Obama in 2008: "A few years ago this guy would have been getting us coffee." Now he's bringing the legacy policies that eluded you, Bill.

... possibly not a single person in the United States - not even Obama himself - agrees with all of his policies.

... you must admire him. The turning point came (the week he released the birth cert., ragged on Trump at the dinner and killed Bin Laden) ... 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," ... (a) 2004 book The Seven Basic Plots, a wide-ranging study from the Epic of Gilgamesh on ... 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.

... His gift - and it is a gift that makes him emblematic - is that he inhabits all these roles without being limited by them. ... 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. ... 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. ... Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a "world-historical soul," ... He is what we hope we can be.

... Obama's gift is the same as his curse: He's somehow managed to be like the rest of us, only infinitely more so.

We may look back on this essay as Obama's Jump the Shark moment.

Happy Birthday Barack!


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posted by Open Blogger at 08:27 PM

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