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December 9, 2009
Jen Rubin at Contentions gives us a new angle on the media treatment of Obama:
For some time, the Wayne and Garth school of Obama punditry (”We’re not worthy!”) was in fashion to explain why Obama was apparently not living up to expectations. He was too intellectual for us and wouldn’t play the usual partisan games. He was beyond our base nationalistic allegiances. “A sort of a god” was, like the real one, shrouded in mystery and beyond the ability of mere mortals to fully appreciate.
Now along comes a Politico column by Lisa Lerer explaining that the real issue is that we expect too much from the One. At Copenhagen:
But it will be almost impossible for Obama not to disappoint the world when he arrives here next week — in large part because the world keeps ratcheting up the expectations on him. [...]
But the American media and international elites are, if nothing else, dogged in their desire to help Obama succeed — both have invested so much in raising expectations to the dizzying heights they now decry.
But really, Lisa Lerer here is just channeling her inner-Michelle Obama – this a Byron York report from a North Carolina campaign stop in May of 2008:
They — [Michelle Obama] doesn’t mention anyone in particular but does refer to one “brand name politician” — are trying to win this election for themselves and thereby deny Obama the opportunity to move America to the mountaintop of hope. And they must be stopped.
“We’ve learned that we’re still living in a time and in a nation where the bar is set, right?” she tells the crowd.
“They tell you all you need to do is do these things and you’ll get to the bar — ”
“So you go about the business of doing those things — ”
“Yes — ”
Her husband has been doing just that, Obama explains — raising money, building an organization, winning caucuses, winning primaries, and amassing a large number of delegates. And yet he still hasn’t won, because nothing is ever enough for those unnamed adversaries.
“You start working hard and sacrificing, and you think you’re getting closer to the bar, you’re working and you’re struggling, you get right to that bar, you’re reaching out for the bar, and then what happens?”
“They raise the bar!”
“They raise the bar. Raise the bar. Shift it to the side. Keep it just out of reach.”
Now, if we accept the argument made by Lisa Lerer, whoever “they” are that made the grandiose anthropogenic claim that Obama's political success would usher in a time where “the rise of the oceans began to slow” should be ashamed of “themselves” for “ratcheting up the expectations on him”.
Who am I to argue with that?