Did you know that bitching about President Obama is now considered a “tradition” among liberals? It is. Things move so fast with those guys. One person has a gripe, another person chimes in, a third grouses about this or that, and the next thing you know—it’s a “tradition.” Very progressive.
“Your essay is in a tradition of trying to understand the reality of President Obama versus the promise of Candidate Obama,” said a man named Ta-Nehisi Coates, interviewing the writer James Fallows. Both men work for the Atlantic magazine, which just last week published an e-book by Fallows called The Obama Presidency, Explained. The interview is packaged with the e-book, which is mostly a revised version of an Atlantic article Fallows wrote this spring. Fallows is the complete Atlantic magazine writer, containing within himself the character of his magazine in all its facets: lacking in humor and color, a bit gassy, unfailingly high-minded and earnest, liberal without overdoing it, intelligent, well-intentioned more often than not, and boring.
The Obama Presidency, Explained is in this same Atlantic, uh, tradition. But the book is worth a download for what it tells us about liberal disenchantment with President Obama—that is, how one of his sophisticated admirers perceives the president’s failure to reconcile his uninspiring presidency with the dizzying expectations he goosed them all into way back in 2008.
Fallows nicely illustrates this liberal consternation with a joke that the comedian Seth Meyers addressed to the president at a Washington ballroom dinner. This was in 2011, when even his most ardent admirers were beginning to wonder where the hell all that hope and change had got to.