Sunday, October 04, 2009

What goes around comes around for Barack Obama

Saturday Night Live last night featured a brilliant piece of political satire directed at President Obama.

I thought this was really well done. Early in Obama's term comedians had a hard time finding an approach to the inscrutable Obama. One reason I think conservatives and Republicans drift into dog-whistle racism is that it really has been hard to get a handle on Obama: he's just too smooth.

Until last night.

Last night sketch comic Fred Armisen managed to get a firm grip on Obama and he landed several well-aimed and perfectly fair blows on a politician that has, up to now, been a very difficult target. Armisen came at Obama hard from the Left, emphasizing Obama's failure to achieve many of his stated campaign goals, including several that he reiterated after he was elected but before he took office.

Obama is rapidly alienating his base, chasing the retreating phantom of bipartisanship with a Republican Party that has sworn to do anything it can to sabotage Obama's administration, no matter what the cost to Americans or the United States as a nation.

Armisen effectively captures something essential to Obama's nature: a desire to make success look effortless. This has become a trap of Obama's own making: without a success, the apparent lack of effort just makes Obama seem feckless.

Obama's initial strategy of simply appearing too cool for school has self-evidently failed. The question now is whether Obama has a different approach up his sleeve. The success of his presidency depends upon it.

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