Obama became a great man — a noble man — when he released his birth certificate, made some Beltway insiders laugh and ordered an extrajudicial killing. All within the span of a week! Tell us more, Esquire:
Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, before the next batch of stupid scandals and gaffes, before Sarah Palin tries to convert her movie into reality and Joe Biden resumes his imitation of an embarrassing uncle and Newt and Callista Gingrich creep us all out, can we just enjoy Obama for a moment?
Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph. Whatever happens this fall or next, the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama.
Due to the specific nature of his political calculus, possibly not a single person in the United States — not even Obama himself — agrees with all of his policies. But even if you disagree with him, even if you hate him, even if you are his enemy, at this point you must admire him. The turning point came that glorious week in the spring when, in the space of a few days, he released his long-form birth certificate, humiliated Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and assassinated Osama bin Laden. The effortlessness of that political triptych — three linked masterpieces demonstrating his total command over intellectual argument, low comedy, and the spectacle of political violence — was so overwhelmingly impressive that it made political geniuses of the recent past like Reagan and Clinton seem ham-fisted. Formed in the fire of other people’s wars, other people’s financial crises, Obama stepped out of Bush’s shadow that week, almost three years after taking over the presidency.
The spectacle of grown men fawning over other, albeit more powerful, grown men and elevating them to the status of philosopher-kings is hilariously infuriating in its own right. But think about this: A writer pitched this story. It was accepted, meaning somebody read the proposal and said, “yes, let’s put this in our magazine.” It was edited, meaning another adult — perhaps more than one — read the finished piece and felt the ripped-from-a-13-year-old’s-diary tone and the Bieber-like fawning was appropriate for discussing national politics. And then it was published.
Don’t worry, though, Ezra Klein: I’m sure the president will still ask you to homecoming.