An Obama Narrative

January 12, 2015

Obama-1303695059Overcast and chilly this Monday afternoon on California’s north coast, and on occasion, some faded, thin sunshine — there’s a ‘slight chance of showers‘ later today, but sunny through the end of the week.

In the wake of the terror attacks last week in Paris and the humongous rally there yesterday, President Obama has made the situation even worse — no high-level White House anybody attended the spectacular mass meeting, which counted 40 heads of state among thoses participating. And shit has hit the fan (via Time): ‘“I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in the wake of rebukes from figures including Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
“We agree that we should have sent someone with a higher profile.”
Security for Obama, or VP Joe Biden, at the rally would have been “onerous” and disruptive, added Earnest.

(Illustration: Alexander J. Kochan’sObama,’ found here).

One must consider, though, where most the ‘barrage of criticism’ about ‘snubbing’ originates — asshole, political idiots, in the form such as (and beyond Cruz): ‘Texas Gov. Rick Perry told The Washington Post that “skipping this rally is a new low in American diplomacy.”
Oops,’ he can’t remember, again.

Obama is a somewhat passive, laid-back kind of guy, and the logistics alone for such a visit, and amongst a couple million people, would have been a nightmare — reality and politics, don’t mix real well sometimes.
And Obama knows history, and seemed memoir-ish this afternoon during a visit to the White House of the 2014 NBA champs, the San Antonio Spurs, and in celebration of their achievement, he proclaimed the team as “a great metaphor for what America should be all about,” even as his presidency makes for an exit for the archives (via ESPN):

“Let’s face it, just a little while back, people were saying that the Spurs were past their prime, not just old but kind of boring,” Obama said, according to The Hill.
“Now they’re fresh and exciting, which is basically the exact opposite of what happens to presidents.”

History is time and already notes on an Obama presidential legacy have emerged, even after just six years, and some shit years, too, but still — supposedly the last few weeks, New York magazine had contacted 50 historians to consider Obama’s reality to history 20 years from now.
Results and commentary published yesterday in the magazine. Some interesting points:

Almost every respondent wrote that the fact of his being the first black president will loom large in the historical narrative — though they disagreed in interesting ways.
Many predict that what will last is the symbolism of a nonwhite First Family; others, the antagonism Obama’s blackness provoked; still others, the way his racial self-consciousness constrained him.
A few suggested that we will care a great deal less about his race generations from now — just as John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism hardly matters to current students of history.

A surprising number of respondents argued that his rescue of the economy will be judged more significant than is presently acknowledged, however lackluster the recovery has felt.
There was more attention paid to China than isis (Obama’s foreign policy received the most divergent assessments), and considerable credit was given to the absence of a major war or terrorist attack, along with a more negative assessment of its price — the expansion of the security state, drones and all.

And there’s also a partial list of answers made by the quizzed historians to the magazine’s questionnaire, and links to full versions.
Historically for myself, the real legacy for Obama seemed to be akin to this contribution from Samuel Moyn, of Harvard Law School (found here):

The president’s contributions were sometimes remarkable, but Obama’s primary legacy is his destruction of political idealism for the foreseeable future.
He proved an impressive steward of the traditions of his party since the 1970s, which have been to moralize American power and humanize American markets—both dubious goals in themselves.
Where Obama differed from all others in his tradition was his brief but unforgettable achievement of a surprisingly large consensus around a belief—or delusion—that Americans rarely entertain.
Put simply, it was that American politics could and must fundamentally change.
Hard-bitten realists welcomed Obama’s immediate return to type, after his election, as confirmation of their cynicism, but the truth is that we will never know what would have happened if Obama, on the strength of his first electoral victory, had tried to live up to the hype.
We do know that the energies he conjured will not reappear soon and are less likely to do so because he summoned them for so ordinary and predictable a set of policies.

Pretty-much nailed it. Obama’s image 20 years down the line will be the failure of that optimism for politics, that ‘political idealism,’ which in turn leads to a lot of shit. Delusion off of 2008 the last six years, for a load of young, maybe-first-time political aware folks, is a key ingredient to the history mix.

My own personal analysis/synopsis, red-flag/warning light on Obama came via his now-famous three-point basketball shot while touring Kuwait in July 2008 — the video’s on YouTube. There was a certain swagger that just didn’t fit, and for a long while, I couldn’t pinpoint the sensation, but the feeling wasn’t nice.
Dawn of the long-let-down, as I remember, came with Obama’s appointment of Tim Geithner and Larry Sumers as part of his ‘hope and change‘ team in late 2008 — WTF!
Obama slowly/quickly became a noodle. He’s allowed George Jr. and all his warmongering crew, as well as the Wall Street/financial assholes off scot-free for heinous, arrogant crimes. He’s prosecuted whistleblowers than anyone else, and has let the NSA/CIA slide, and slide away unshackled by prosecution.
Among other shit…

History abnormal the new normal.

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