Knock, knock. Who’s there? Obama. Obama who?
Obama is finally gaining a more realistic perspective of his less than godlike status. He’s only six years too late. If only he’d eaten a little humble pie before running in 2008, or even in 2012. Maybe we wouldn’t be turning Islamic. Maybe we wouldn’t be choking on Obamacare enrollment. Maybe gay marriage initiatives would have lost momentum. Instead, the nation as a whole is shaking its collective bowed head in disgrace.
Obama, in the meantime, shows his new found humility by knocking on wood–a gesture meant to indicate his reliance on forces greater than himself.
According to Politico:
The ritual started in earnest last fall in the midst of the biggest humiliation of Barack Obama’s presidency, the failure of the health care website. Anytime he heard a sliver of good news, the president reacted the same way: He knocked on the polished cherry wood table in the Roosevelt Room.
Obama had always projected the aura of a deeply confident man, someone who on the basis of past experience was justified in assuming that good luck just naturally happened to him. But in the second term, confronted by recurring setbacks and regular reminders of the limits of his power, he began to convey a sense that even hopeful news might be ephemeral, a mirage.
It’s a small thing, almost a nervous tic, but Obama’s habit of knocking on wood during Obamacare meetings had become notable, something that close advisers talked and even joked about among themselves.
The president’s political world is more and more beyond his command. Instead, it is driven by Republicans in Congress, potentially power-shifting Senate races in states where Obama isn’t welcomed to campaign, and to speculation centered on Hillary Clinton’s agenda — not his own. Obama tells anxious Democrats that there is only so much he can do beyond fundraising and better implementing the health care law. But he also has told allies that losing the Senate to Republicans would make his last two years in office unbearable.
This sense of diminished possibilities has infused his governing strategy.
But a presidency built on finding ways to elude Congress is a remarkable descent for a leader whose second inaugural address was an audacious call to arms for a liberal resurgence. These days his actions reflect a conclusion that his best option is to navigate shrewdly within narrow limits rather than soar above them with transformative politics.
At the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama was sufficiently at peace to deliver joke after joke about “my stellar 2013.’’
“I admit it, last year was rough,’’ he said. “Sheesh. At one point, things got so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize.”
For Americans who have rallied for impeachment, take comfort in this fantasy:
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Obama. Obama who? OOO BAA MAA SSEELLFF
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