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The reason for this dramatic peripety, the startling reversal of opinion, is obvious. Pro-Obama columnists and broadcasters will be forced to allow that they were taken in by a smooth and persuasive imposter, a Felix Krull or Melville’s Confidence Man. They must eventually realize that their credibility and sagacity, and in some cases even their careers, will soon be on the line. When a fairy-tale vehicle careens into the wall of reality, it is the wall that emerges intact. If these media types also wish to survive in one piece, they will have to do an about-face, explaining to the public that they were understandably inspired by the president’s apparent eloquence and sweet purr of power, and acted in a manner they judged best for America’s future interests. They really thought he was in the driver’s seat. They considered him a winner—as who would not have. They believed that he merited the “coverage” they lavished upon him. Because they were so deeply concerned for the nation’s future, they tumbled for his Canute-like assurance that his election would check the “rise of the oceans.” They did not see, to quote John Bolton, that he was really the first post-American president.
In other words, they were true patriots miserably deceived, as were so many others, by Obama’s youthful sparkle, redlining campaign energy and ostensible good faith, convinced that he would set the country on the right path, that he would heal the racial divide, that he would solve the financial crisis, that he would seek bi-partisan cooperation, that he would hunt down Osama bin Laden as per his campaign rhetoric, that he would close Gitmo, that he would fight only “good wars” or “wars of necessity,” that he would pacify the Middle East and that he would eventually bring peace and harmony to prevail among belligerents, both at home and abroad. But it didn’t happen that way; in fact, every major issue he has addressed has demonstrably worsened, every touted success has been a fiasco. And so the scribblers and talking heads will scramble to cover their derrières. Unlikely as this many seem at the present moment, expect headlines like We Were Had or We Hoped for Change—and Were Disappointed. And remember, you read it here.
One by one, then, the media dominoes will begin to fall. Naturally, they will not admit to evincing both frugal intelligence and political partiality. Rather, the fourth estate, apologetic and shame-faced, will insist on its bona fides and claim that no one is infallible, to err is human—and every other redemptive platitude it can think of. Like Letterman confessing to an affair, the media will attempt to recoup its public standing by being “refreshingly candid.”
Obama groupie David Brooks aired his doubts back in March 2009; while trashing the Republicans pro forma, he conceded that “Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.” Bloviating pundits like Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman have already started to turn. Indeed, even a dinosaur like Frank Rich, roaming the Jurassic Park of the New York Times, is growing uncomfortable, lamenting the White House’s “record of incompletes” and suggesting that Obama should “start running his administration with a 9/11 sense of urgency.” Of course, there is no chance of this happening. Ultimately, the media will put on a great show of confessional humility, honesty and frankness. And then, once more, it will be business as usual. It will be time to attend another race and root for the wrong contestant.
Can one imagine a jalopy like Hillary revving her engine again?
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