It’s time for a little Friday afternoon comic relief. At first I thought the comedy was intentional; a bit of satire worthy of The Onion. Then I noticed the author was Meghan Daum and it dawned on me that she considers this steaming load of crap to be serious analysis.
Obama’s intellect doesn’t have much currency in the political climate of extreme partisanship and pandering to a very low common denominator.
As devotees of Barack Obama know all too well, qualities that made him so attractive as a candidate — an affinity for subtle arguments, a tendency to carefully weigh his options — have at times proved less useful in his role as president. That carefulness has been read as indecisiveness. The subtle arguments have sounded, to some ears, like hedging. In response, the president has simplified his rhetoric. The nuances of the 2009 Cairo speech about relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world have given way to chest thumping over killing Osama bin Laden. The sophistication of the speech on race he delivered during the 2008 campaign has morphed into sentimental headline grabbers: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
To many who were feverishly devoted to Obama’s candidacy four years ago, what was most exciting wasn’t just the idea that American voters could elect a black man. It was the idea that we could elect — and be represented by — someone who was unapologetically intellectual. But in the current political climate, intellectual can too often equal ineffectual. Thanks to a system that’s broken by partisanship and pandering to the lowest common denominator, being in politics — even being the president — may have less to do with holding your ground than holding your nose.
It’s hard not to come away from the Vanity Fair article without feeling, strangely enough, that the White House is holding Obama back. The gulf between the brilliant young man who wanted to change the world and the stymied president who can barely pass a piece of legislation, the cosmopolitan wearer of the sarong and the lock-step wearer of the flag pin, suggests he could have served the American people far more effectively if he weren’t bogged down being the leader of the free world.
In other words, it’s not necessarily a thinking man’s game now. Tell a smart kid he might grow up to be president and, these days, he just may tell you he has better things to do.
In short, we peasants aren’t capable of grasping the fact that Obama’s policies of creating unprecedented dependency, destroying the energy sector, the health care sector, and every other sector he touches while simultaneously bankrupting the country are in actuality sheer brilliance. We’re simply incapable of comprehending how a guy with “an affinity for subtle arguments” and ”a tendency to carefully weigh his options” invariably chooses the wrong one while steadily and purposely chipping away at our individual freedoms. If only we shared Obama’s intellectual capacity, we’d put our “extreme partisanship” aside, come to our senses and realize that taxing businesses and individuals into oblivion is a good thing. Gotcha, Meghan.