Yesterday, she wrote in her op ed:
…The president who started off with such dazzle now seems incapable of stimulating either the economy or the voters. His campaign is offering Obama 2012 car magnets for a donation of $10; cat collars reading “I Meow for Michelle” for $12; an Obama grill spatula for $40, and discounted hoodies and T-shirts. How the mighty have fallen.
Once glowing, his press is now burning. “To a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear,” John Heilemann wrote in New York magazine, noting that because Obama feels he can’t run on his record, his campaign will resort to nuking Romney.
In his new book, “A Nation of Wusses,” the Democrat Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, wonders how “the best communicator in campaign history” lost his touch.
The legendary speaker who drew campaign crowds in the tens of thousands and inspired a dispirited nation ended up nonchalantly delegating to a pork-happy Congress, disdaining the bully pulpit, neglecting to do any L.B.J.-style grunt work with Congress and the American public, and ceding control of his narrative.
As president, Obama has never felt the need to explain or sell his signature pieces of legislation — the stimulus and health care bills — or stanch the flow of false information from the other side.
“The administration lost the communications war with disastrous consequences that played out on Election Day 2010,” Rendell writes, and Obama never got credit for the two pieces of legislation where he reached for greatness.
The president had lofty dreams of playing the great convener and conciliator. But at a fund-raiser in Minneapolis, he admitted he’s just another combatant in a capital full of Hatfields and McCoys. No compromises, just nihilism.
If he wins the election, “the fever may break,” he said. “My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn’t make much sense because I’m not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again.”
In his new biography, “Barack Obama: The Story,” David Maraniss writes that a roommate of the young Obama compared him to Walker Percy’s protagonist in “The Moviegoer”: an observer of his life, one step removed.
On CNBC on Friday, Romney complained that Obama has “been more focused on his perspective of his historic legislative achievements than he has been focused on getting people back to work.”
A president focused on historic achievements? Imagine that. But in his lame way, Romney got at Obama’s problem: The Moviegoer prefers to float above, at a reserve, in grandiose mists.
As Maraniss recounts, Obama said he liked reading Hemingway because of Papa’s “integrity of grasping for those times, those visions, that are ones of true magnificence and profundity.”
Cook told Maraniss that she thought Obama’s desire to “play out a superhero life” was “a very strong archetype in his personality.”
But superheroes and mythic figures must boldly lead. Obama’s caution — ingrained from a life of being deserted by his father and sometimes his mother, and of being, as he wrote to another girlfriend, “caught without a class, a structure, or tradition to support me” — has restrained him at times.
In some ways, he’s still finding himself, too absorbed to see what’s not working. But the White House is a very hard place to go on a vision quest, especially with a storm brewing.
In a related story…
Reality TV shows are making increasing numbers of people convinced that they’re the stars of their own, unwanted television programs.
Psychiatrists are treating more people for so-called ‘Truman Show’ delusions — named after the 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey as a man who spends his entire life unwittingly at the center of a fictional world that’s being broadcast to millions of homes.
The startling cases often afflict successful people who develop paranoid fantasies that they’re being filmed at all times and that the world that’s in front of them isn’t real.
Their friends and loves ones are actors. The news they see on TV is made up to control the way they think. The things that happen to them are merely events staged for the amusement of others.
The result can turn disturbing and even violent.
For the past three and one-half years, Americans have felt like they were living in a reality show, sleep-walking through our lives, incredulous at the sight of our once proud nation, slowly being regulated to third world status.
We have had to endure the painful sight of watching our president, the leader of the free world, bow in reverence to tin horn despots, while alienating our friends and embracing our enemies.
We spent the time mired in a national malaise as our friends and relatives, and at times, ourselves, have lost our jobs, due to an economy that can only be described as horrible, with no signs of improving.
The entire Obama Presidency has seemed surreal at times, as if the entire country were stuck in a nightmare of our own creation, unable to wake up.
Hopefully, on November 6th, 2012, American will wake up and vote.