Sunday, June 3, 2012

As Maureen Dowd Turns

What’s a girl to do?

After plighting her troth to a superhero, a man who could solve all the world’s problems, one day Maureen Dowd woke up and discovered that her superhero was a cartoon.

If you are Maureen Dowd and you find yourself abandoned by the mirage you took to be a superhero you write a column. Dowd makes news today because she comes out and admits that she had been duped.

The great Obama, her superhero, was not who she thought he was. Worse yet, he was not who he thought he was.

In Dowd’s words:

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.

She continues:

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.

Dowd does not mention Edward Klein’s inside account of the Obama presidency, The Amateur, after a label that Bill Clinton affixed to Obama, but she does offer a useful psychological portrait, via David Maraniss’s forthcoming book, Barack Obama: The Story.

Maraniss portrays Obama as detached and disengaged, watching his life as though it were a movie. For many years now, Dowd continues, Obama has been on “an intense odyssey of self-discovery.”

What is Obama doing in the White House? Why, he’s trying to find himself.

The phrasing comes to us straight from the therapeutic lexicon. Paradoxically, Obama found himself in the White House but he has still not found himself.

Meaning: he woke up one morning in the White House and did not know how he got there. The leap from the Illinois State Legislature to Pennsylvania, after a brief stopover in the U. S. Senate, had been too large, so being in the White House did not make any sense, first to him.

When he found himself in the White House Obama was lost.

In Dowd’s words:

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.

She might be thinking about the political storm that is about to come ashore. Or she might be thinking of the European financial crisis that is heading straight for us.

Whatever the problem, Obama seems no longer to be the solution. The grinning idealist has no pragmatic streak.

Obama is so far in over his depth that he has to expend all of his energy trying to stay afloat. He doesn’t even have enough perspective to see what’s not working.

How could he? He’s busy campaigning to keep his job. Perhaps he believes that he needs another four years to finally find himself.

Dowd seems to be thinking that it’s time for Obama to return home to Chicago and get real.


Dennis said...

As much as I disliked Clinton, because he was the perfect example of the Frat boy who never got past loving to discuss politics to the point of taking real action, I had to give him credit for having all the tools to become a great President. He just lacked the wherewithal to be a great President and was never going to get past political expediency Sadly, Clinton never grew in office. That Clinton is showing a little thought now, when he isn;t in full political mode, does give on pause, but not much.
The only thing Obama had in common with Clinton is that, with a teleprompter, he could give a good speech. Obama has none of the tools to be a great , much less a, President. Obama is a small person in a big person's job. Before one can lead one has to know who one is as a person. One can delegate, but not be disengaged from the acts that need to be taken. That Obama just now seems to be getting the idea that his actions have hurt the very people he said he wanted to help is telling. Obama never seems to grasp that one has to be very careful starting revolutions because one never knows where they are going to end up and they may very well end up "hoisting one on their own petard." I would posit that Obama has never extrapolated his ideas out to their ultimate conclusion. At least Clinton knew when to change course whereas Obama hasn't a clue.
Dowd is typical of the NY leftist who always sees the "hero" who is going to bring us "Hope and Change" only to, way after its to late, recognize that the "emperor has no clothes" and blinded people because they actively covered their eyes. Years ago I used to like her writing, but it has been degraded, with an occasional spark, to the point that one wonders what happen to her. It must be that bad estrogen my wife's doctor keeps talking about.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

The strange thing is, Obama has made Bill Clinton look like a good president.

Dowd, who has, as you say, done better work, mentions that now the White House Press corps misses George Bush. She could have added that now Republicans miss Bill Clinton.

xenophon said...

I never thought I'd miss Clinton! Bill was a blowhard but he had a certain likability. Obama (whom I never thought was a great speaker, what did people hear?), the faux professor at my old college strikes me as distant and not in touch with the world. His experience of the USA is remote and uninvolved. He may have been born here but he acts like a foreigner.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I never saw him as a very good speaker either. He preaches to people, his cadence is quite rhythmic, but if you start trying to figure out what he is saying you discover that there's no there there.

Dennis said...

Remember I said a good speech. I did not say a great speech. A speech has to be rated by its effectiveness and those speeches were good enough to get them elected.
There was a time that I actually read Clinton's speeches and both of you are right in the sense that from a rational, objective stand point they were not good. There are so many lies, dissembling et al in Obama's speeches that one wonders how he can speak the words without a smirk on his face.
The fact that he preaches fits the constituency that he is aiming to reach.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

But, don't you have the impression that Obama always has a smirk on his face?

Dennis said...

That is strange isn't it?