"Leader of the free world "has been popping up from disparate sources referring to Barack Obama. Michelle Obama used it on the quiz show Jeopardy just last week. No, she was not a contestant. Her husband's re-election campaign purchased categories on the popular program. Michele read questions recorded on camera concerning her association with the campaign to combat obesity. Joe Biden followed the next evening touting auto companies bailed out by the Obama "stimulus." (Yes Jeopardy fans, the show sells product sponsorships for entire categories without disclosure -- in this case the Obama brand).
On NPR May 12, a reference to Obama's free world leader status was uttered by gay activist and author Armistead Maupin, who appears to have stoked his star-making machinery apparatus to trumpet approval for Obama's "historic" approval of gay marriage. Maupin, (I know him since we share the same home town) is a San Francisco-based author who rose to national attention in the early 1970s penning Tales of the City, a series in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Considering these references, there is no telling where else we will hear "leader of the free world" in the six months remaining until the November election, but the honorific is obviously a part of the campaign lexicon. I doubt the MSM will note the title stands in contradiction to the president's Obama Doctrine, dedicated to diminishing the role of the United States in world affairs and the effort to avoid hurting the feelings of other nations to encourage the demise of nationalism.
Obama's global view stems from anti-colonialism inherited from his father, a vocal and active participant in the anti-imperialist independence movement in Kenya against the British that resulted in the rise of the Mau-Mau. It is not a leap to reason, from Obama's point of view, that the US followed Great Britain as the world's leading imperial power, a position he loathes.
Consequently, the Obama Doctrine emphasizes negotiation and collaboration rather than confrontation and unilateralism if required in international affairs. Obama says the United States would have to "view our security in terms of a common security and a common prosperity with other peoples and other countries" - a far cry from the United States as leader of the free world.
Bernie Reeves is editor & publisher, Raleigh Metro Magazine, and founder, Raleigh Spy Conference.