It’s been a long summer for Team Obama. Constantly under a microscope, continuing its “do-everything-at-once” strategy, deflecting voracious 24/7 reporters intent on finding any chink in the armor so they can “win the morning,” developing a foreign policy, and finally, dealing with the colossal expectations the majority of Americans heaped on 44 after his historic victory – Roland Flamini digests it all in preparation for a busy fall legislative season.
By Roland Flamini
Barack Obama’s election created a level of public expectation that was beyond the power of any president to satisfy. That’s because the American presidency exists on two levels: it exists in the mind of each and every one of us, and it exists in reality. In the case of Obama’s spectacular election, festooned as it was with historic and racial significance, the presidency, in the mind, overwhelmed the reality.
One part of the new president’s problem is the gap between the brave new world that voters imagined from his campaign rhetoric, and the disillusioning realization that he is not Harry Potter. He can‘t stabilize the economy and financial markets, deliver a new health care system, wind down Iraq – while beating the Taliban in Afghanistan – by uttering magic mumbo jumbo or pointing a finger equipped with magic powers; neither is Obama a Transformer, capable of crushing Wall Street executives in his path like a hi-tech juggernaut, even if this is the subconscious contemporary popular culture context in which he is perceived.
The other part of Barack Obama’s problem is Barack Obama himself. He is perhaps too rooted in reality, when he should believe a little more in the magic of his office – and in his own oratory. David Axelrod calls Obama “zen like” when what he is describing is a president who seems diffident about using his power to either burn or cross a bridge.