Obama the Myth

Barack Hubris Obama

Matthew Continetti:

I can’t be the only person in America who, at about minute 35 in President Obama’s almost hour-long “framing” speech in Cleveland Thursday, wanted to tell the president, as the Dude famously screams at Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, “You’re living in the past!”

Obama’s overly long, repetitive, and by turns self-pitying and self-congratulatory address was so soaked through with nostalgia that MSNBC should have broadcast it in sepia tones. The speech—which even the liberal Obama biographer Jonathan Alter called one of the president’s “least successful” political communications—revealed an incumbent desperately trying to replay the 2008 election. But no oratory will make up for a flawed record and a vague, fissiparous, and unappealing agenda.

The president himself forced this abrupt re-launch of his reelection campaign. After a bad week that began with terrible job numbers, proceeded to Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall, and culminated in awful fundraising news, Obama tried to recover last Friday by addressing the press on the state of the economy. Except things went horribly wrong. The president uttered six words—“the private sector is doing fine”—that not only will plague him for the rest of the campaign, but also perfectly captured his complacent attitude toward all things outside the realm of government.

The moment prompted a burst of panic throughout the Democratic hive mind, with media types clucking their tongues at the president’s campaign and party strategists questioning the salience of his message. Yesterday’s event in Ohio was thus intended to serve as a sort of domestic analogue to President Obama’s “reset” with Russia. By the looks of things, it will prove to be just as unsuccessful.

The very idea that Obama has the ability to shape his political fortunes through rhetoric is a backwards-looking myth. It is part of the pop narrative of Obama’s 2008 candidacy, in which the young freshman senator was able to rescue his moribund campaign from the evil Clinton machine by giving a single speech at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner in November 2007. More likely it was Obama’s antiwar stance in an antiwar party that gave him the edge in the Iowa caucuses the following January, but that has not stopped the president or his supporters from having an almost theological attachment to his oratorical prowess.

The evidence in this case, however, is decidedly on the side of the nonbelievers. The Washington Post counts over 500 speeches or appearances where the president has mentioned health care, but his overhaul remains remarkably unpopular. The president’s campaign appearances on behalf of Creigh Deeds in Virginia, Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey, Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, and Rep. Tom Perriello in Virginia were unsuccessful, which may have been why he didn’t even bother to campaign in Wisconsin for Tom Barrett (who lost anyway). A televised address last July did not win Obama his lusted-after tax increase on the rich, nor did remarks to a joint session of Congress win passage of his American Jobs Act. Eleven “major” speeches on the economy have not generated a full recovery or prevented economic indicators from backsliding. Indeed, one of President Obama’s few accomplishments has been to prove, definitively, the worthlessness of the bully pulpit.

As we all realized four years ago, Barack Obama is a political myth. Oh, there is a real man behind the myth, but he has little in common with the demi-god who ran for President.

Obama the Myth is a history changing, once in a generation leader. He is a gifted orator, a Jedi Master of politics and the smartest man to ever occupy the Oval Office. He brings people together, inspires them and guides them to a better tomorrow. He farts Skittles and pees rainbows.

Obama the man is an incompetent bullshit artist with no principles. But his greatest weakness isn’t incompetence, it’s hubris. He REALLY believes he is Obama the Myth.

He is a narcissist who is surrounded by sycophants dedicated to preserving his delusions of grandeur. He smokes his own hopium. He gets high on his own supply.

Incompetence is a relative thing. Obama has some skills, and he looks good in a suit. Anyone who graduated from Columbia and Harvard Law School must have a few functioning brain cells. But then again, the hardest part about graduating from Ivy League schools is getting into them in the first place.

Washington DC is filled with political hacks. With Obama’s mediocre skills and lack of morals he could have easily spent a long career in the Senate – just like Joe Biden. But Obama’s an exception to the Peter Principle – he’s risen above his level of incompetence.

He had a lot of help getting there. On his own he never would have made it to the Senate. He had rich and powerful “friends” who hooked him up with David Axelrod, one of the most sought-after political fixers in the country.

It was a symbiotic relationship. They wanted to use him, and he wanted to use them. Every puppet needs his puppet master, but Obama ain’t Gepetto.

Politics is a dirty business. There is an old saying – “To get to the top you have to kiss a lot of bottom.” They ALL do it. Uncorruptible politicians don’t last long or go far.

Jack Stanton: This is it, Henry. This is the price you pay to lead. You don’t think Abraham Lincoln was a whore before he was a president? He had to tell his little stories and smile his shit-eating back-country grin. And he did it just so that one day he would have the opportunity to stand in front of the nation and appeal to the better angels of our nature. And that’s where the bullshit stops. That’s what it’s all about. So that we have the opportunity to make the most of it. To do it the right way.

You know as well as I do, that plenty of people playing this game, they don’t think that way. They’re willing to sell their souls, crawl through sewers, lie to people, divide them, play on their worst fears for nothing! Just for the prize.

Or, as Jesse Unruh famously said:

“If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.”

On the other hand, in Chicago they say, “An honest politician is one who stays bought.” By that measure, Barack Obama is an honest politician.

One thing I am unsure of – did Obama’s puppeteers realize he would be an unpopular, incompetent president? Think about that for a while.

But I digress. We were talking about Obama the Myth.

Ten years ago (they hooked up in 2002) when David Axelrod began to work his magic and animate an empty suit, Obama was a blank slate. He was also a little-known state senator. His first memoir had flopped and he got his ass kicked by Bobby Rush two years earlier.

By 2002 Obama had never won a contested election. He had never championed any legislation that passed. He had never spoken before a big crowd. He had never heard a crowd chanting “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!

David Axelrod created Obama the Myth, and the first person he sold it to was Barack Obama.

Obama never suffered from a lack of self-esteem. Quite the opposite. But Axelrod introduced him to a drug better than any choom he ever smoked – adulation.

With Axelrod’s help Obama won a statewide primary. Then he got to be the keynote speaker at the 2004 DNC convention. His speech was broadcast nationwide on primetime. A few months later he was elected to the US Senate. Then he got another book deal, and this one sold. He even got to go on Oprah!

By 2007 the Obama Youth were leading campaign rallies in chants of “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!” Girls were swooning during his speeches. The media were fawning over him. For a narcissist like Obama this was more addictive than crack cocaine.

Obamamania peaked in February 2008 just before Hillary began her comeback. His followers didn’t abandon him, but their ranks stopped growing. Barack didn’t notice, even when his campaign had to resort to tricks to fill his rallies, because he was surrounded by adoring sycophants.

They created a seal for him to use. Campaign songs were written for him. They built him his own temple just to give a single speech. His popularity was slipping, but he held on to win the election although by a narrower margin than it should have been.

Then disaster struck – he had to actually start leading. He had to pick his Cabinet and White House staff. He had to start keeping (or breaking) promises. He couldn’t be all things to all people anymore. He had to, you know, do stuff.

Here is how you can tell he believes his own hype – his “go to” move is making a speech. He thinks he can talk people into anything or talk himself out of trouble. If he’s not making a speech he’s doing interviews. He shows up on television more than any POTUS in history.

The result?

His approval rating was at 65% on Inauguration Day. By Christmas 2009 it was below 50% and has only risen back over the halfway mark four times since then – each one very brief. Interestingly, his approval ratings tend to go up when he is out of the news.

Make no mistake – Obama wants a second term. He thinks he deserves it and will get it. Losing a reelection bid is the mark of a failed presidency and Obama couldn’t stand the idea of failure.

If current trends continue, Obama is going to have a rude awakening in a few months. I honestly don’t know if he’ll be able to handle it. Jimmy Carter and Poppy Bush both failed to win second terms, but neither one had the massive ego that Obama has.

Until then you can expect what we’ve been seeing recently – Obama casting about for a winning theme, repeatedly trying to recapture that old magic, growing more and more confused as nothing seems to work.

Karma’s a bitch.

This entry was posted in 2012 Elections, Barack Obama and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Obama the Myth

  1. lyn5 says:

    Obama always gave me the creeps, and I have not listened to any of his speeches. I am amazed that so many people fell for him … and they still do. I despise all the Democrats who put him in office.

  2. elliesmom says:

    My two favorite political movies are “Primary Colors” and “Wag the Dog”. One is art imitating life and the other life imitating art. If Obama isn’t re-elected in November, I imagine it will be difficult for him to accept, but that’s his problem. I’m more concerned about the people who are turning themselves into pretzels to maintain their adulation for him. Will they wake up and smell the coffee, or will they continue to believe he’s the “smartest man to ever occupy the White House” and want those of us who voted him out punished? Will African-Americans remember that we grew enough as a country to elect one of them to the highest office in the land, or will it be more racist that we did that but failed to re-elect him to a second term? I’m as afraid of what will happen inside the White House if Romney is elected as I am worried about what happens outside. But not too worried to vote for him.

  3. Me too lyn5. I always felt like one of the few survivors of a nuclear war. Why me? I was completely immune to Obama’s charm—-completely. It was so weird seeing my friends and even family succumb to Obamamania. I remember seeing a friend effuse to the media “I’ve never felt this way before!!”, this a woman with a husband and 5 children and a successful career, beautiful home, the works. Huh? Again, it was so weird being one who couldn’t fall under that spell. I’m happy about it though. Who’d want to look that dumb?

  4. DandyTiger says:

    The downfall of many people and many companies is often about them believing their own hype. Happens more often with companies than it should. But that’s even someone understandable. What’s amazing is when it happens with a person. That takes some seriously stunning narcissism.

  5. angienc says:

    Another proof positive that Obama believes his own hype was when Congressional Dems were worried about their 2010 re-elections if they voted for Obamacare,(ie that they might not win similar to what happened with Clinton’s healthcare bill in the 1990s), and he told them “The difference is you’ve got me.”

  6. WMCB says:

    Incredibly accurate piece, myiq. He was never all that. Bravo.

  7. WMCB says:

    OT but I actually wanted to do a piece on this today, but I CANNOT seem to get all the WordPress editing buttons to work right with my new iPad. This is an incredible article. It’s the post I’ve wanted to write forever but someone just did. (That would’ve been my title.)

    I and many others on this homely little blog have been trying to make the argument for years that the creeping sickness infecting our country is not so much big government or small government ( though I believe it could use some downsizing), but the co-opting of our government by a dizzying array of interests. It’s not just corporate lobbyists, it’s not just the unions. It’s all of it. It’s even the bureaucracies themselves maneuvering and arm-twisting for their own survival, expansion, and budgets/power, rather than paring down to what’s actually effective and helpful.

    It’s why many of us have been arguing for years that honest (ie not mouth foaming Prog) liberals, tea partiers, libertarians, and others DO have common ground here. It’s called representative government, responsive to US, and respecting the rule of law. The madness will not end until we force them to start dismantling this monster, and build something better.

    Go read the entire thing. It’s worth every word. (And myiq I apologize if I’ve stepped on your thread.)

    But a democratic republic cannot long survive as a special interest state. The destruction of economic value is too complete, as interests channel the money into unproductive uses—housing and education bubbles; alternative energy; battalions of compliance officers; a ruling class that depends on the iron rice bowl of the government giving its members jobs telling the masses what to do.

    The destruction of other values is also serious. Respect now goes to the person who can best manipulate the system to extract resources for his clientele, not to the one who creates productive enterprises. The term “doer” becomes a synonym for “sap.” Private institutions respond to Big SIS by becoming Little SISes, choosing their leaders for their ability to schmooze the government rather than for skill or dedication in pursuing the mission of the institution. Log-rolling coalitions require that members of each group within the tent abandon any reservations about the demands of their allies.

    Margaret Thatcher said that socialism eventually runs out of other people’s money, but in a socialist world the ruling class is at least trying to promote some vision of the general welfare, however demented. The special interest state is more degraded in that the general welfare is of little concern to the interests’ representatives. Arguments that their positions are destructive have no impact, except perhaps to send them back to their offices to grab more before the game ends.

    The special interest state cannot keep growing and has no natural equilibrium point. So the question now is not whether but how it will end, and this is inscrutable. One can envision a period of creative politics and institution building in which an aroused public demands the dismantling of much of the special interest state, a cut-back in government, and the creation of new institutional controls to prevent a recurrence.


    • yttik says:

      Yes, good article! Where I live you can really see how special interests have destroyed our community and our economy. The “stimulus” trickled down to our city gov and they decided they were going to create all these jobs by installing public art and doing road construction. So they dug up our streets a couple years ago and they’ve been beautifying us ever since, right into a ghost town. We now have dozens of empty shops because people couldn’t stay in business and fancy public art displays on every corner.

      You go to a city council meeting and try to explain to these people that we have 18% unemployment and a declining population because people can no longer afford to live here, but all they can see is the two million dollars the state gave them for sidewalk improvements. What they don’t get is that that money didn’t go into our local economy, it actually cost us many small businesses. And of course like all special projects, it turns out that 2 million is not enough, so now we’re in the hole for a couple more million and the work is still not finished.

      • WMCB says:

        Our govt has become like the harried parent running around shoving lollipops at everyone to shut them up. Meanwhile, no actual meals get cooked.

      • But think of all the money made off those signs, those that told me all these projects were part of the Obama Recovery Act. {snark} Funny thing is, after the project was done, I would see the signs just left by the side of the road rusting away.

  8. WMCB says:


  9. cj says:

    Well done myiq. It shouldn’t have worked, the O campaign was never that good & sometimes, the over-the-top hubris was downright laughable. For whatever reasons, the powers that be wanted Hillary stopped & Bill put in his place.

    Yeah, they were salivating at the idea of the first black prez, but first & foremost, it was a massive eruption of CDS in the Dem leadership.

  10. Lola-at-Large says:

    OT: Juan Williams succumbs to fantasy, or, A Lesson in Creating Your Own Reality: thehill.com/opinion/columnists/juan-williams/233123-opinion-defeat-of-healthcare-reform-law-will-erode-voters-trust-of-supreme-court

    Troll-worthy. He’s so thin-skinned these days. Get up in his grill, folks! 😀

    • cj says:

      Good grief, that was so awful I couldn’t read past the first few paragraphs. Juan’s just pulling it out of his @ss lately & when he gets called on it, he just gets loud & shrill.

      Romney could only hope that Obama takes his advice.

  11. yttik says:

    Regarding the myth of Obama’s 100% support from the black community that will probably riot is he isn’t re-elected, check out this photo. Obama found one (ONE!) black woman to work on his campaign.


  12. DeniseVB says:

    Over at Ace, they seem to think WaPo is getting ready to jump off the Obama bandwagon.


  13. insanelysane says:

    Notice how we aren’t hearing how Obama is just like JFK, or another Lincoln ,or the second coming. Nobody is comparing him to the best orators of our time and I’m not hearing the ever so stupid “transformational presidency” phrasing any more .
    The bloom is off the rose and this pipsqueak of a man is all we can see. My, how the mighty have fallen.

  14. Add me to the ranks of those who have some kind of immunity to the fraud’s crap. He always always gave me a bad case of the heebie jeebies. And for what it is worth- in my most humble opinion he is NOT a great orator. He is a totus reader. period. And it is ALWAYS about him. Like others here, I never could understand what is is that people see or hear when they look at/ listen to him, cuz I shit sure don’t get it still.
    Has he received the Guinness World record for most uses of “I, me mine” in one lifetime yet?

    • DeniseVB says:

      What is the criteria for winning the Nobel Peace Prize ? The world, including our divided country, has certainly gone mad crazy since he won it. As I recall, they jumped over some well deserving people for the Faux Messiah.

      • Pips says:

        Politics, Denise. It’s mostly about politics. As well as a small country wanting to be part of the ‘historic’ moment – and be sprinkled with the fairy dust that comes with it. Besides, at that point ‘big sis’ Denmark had already been graced by a visit, so in my humble opinion it had also to do with something along the line of ‘Not fair. Me too! Lol. But that’s just me of course.

        Though it does have to do with some kind of pride/ self-aggrandisement, of which the Norwegians have plenty. (Still love them to pieces. 🙂 ) The following year when it was rumoured that the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo were on the short list, the committee had a call from the Chinese vice foreign minister. That did it! No outsider tells Norwegians what to do. 😉

        Also never underestimate the importance for any country, but even more so a small country, of having the President of the US come visit.

    • you got all that right ProoudMilitaryMom!! BTW—my son has applied to Marine Officer Training School. If he gets in that will be both he and his wife in the services…..

  15. HELENK says:


    David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog

    @JonahNRO Vegas & DC work on the same principle: convince people that their massive palaces were built by giving away free money.

  16. DeniseVB says:

    Speaking of the Mythsis, I just read Michelle was given an honorary doctorate from Oregon State in nutrition. Does this mean she’ll be called “Dr. Obama” now, or do you have to EARN that degree first ? I don’t call anyone Dr. unless they can write me a prescription 😛

  17. HELENK says:

    I am not sure if this is a WTF or you can not make this up


  18. Pips says:

    Speaking of speeches … and one that didn’t make an impact: At the 2010 Cop15 in Copenhagen, Obama flew in (and out) on the very last day, having left the work up untill then to Hillary Clinton (and a couple of jumbojets filled with congress people and family!).

    … oh, and the previous evening, the Danish Queen had invited ‘World leaders Only’ for a banquet. Guess who represented the US as it’s leader? 😉

    At the final session everyone else was seated in the congress hall, and one by one the various world leaders got up on stage made their speech and went back to their seat in the hall.

    After Brazil’s Lula, had made a rousing, unscripted, engaged, much – and repeatedly – applauded speech, and walked straight back to his seat, Obama, literally coming through a backroom door, entered the stage. He made a speech that made the grassroots viewing the speech on screens in side-rooms, boo … and everyone else yawn; then he walked across the stage and to the dismay of the arrangers, as they were already behind schedule, took time to shake hands with every single one sitting there.

    Then, leaving the stage absorbed in himself I guess, he steered towards the ‘abyss’ and would have fallen off the stage had a guard not pointed him to the stairs. Then after having shaken some more hands he once again disappeared behind the backroom door.

    Arrogant? Aloof? Wonder what the general impression was by his foreign colleagues? We’ll never know.

    This is not a very good video, but at 5.39 you can watch him ‘do the rounds’.

  19. HELENK says:

    something to think about do we want the UN in control of this


  20. HELENK says:


    I guess he would praise him for the immigration order. If they all get sent back who will be in the USA to send money back to Mexico to feed their families?? The income from mexicans sending money back to Mexico is one of the largest incomes to the country

  21. Erica says:

    Wait a minute……are you trying to say his story is one big fairy tale? (cuz that would be you-know what)….

  22. Caro says:

    He’s surrounded by CORRUPT sycophants who know that big-money jobs are waiting just past the revolving door. Their pay will be much higher if Obama wins.

    Carolyn Kay

  23. HELENK says:


    if backtrack is not the dem nominee, why are we stuck paying for his campaign actions and since there is no democratic nominee that means romney wins by default doesn’t it

  24. HELENK says:

    Roger Clements found NOT guilty on all charges of lying to congress


  25. DandyTiger says:

    By the way, awesome post. Yeah, I finally read it. What? I’m a pirate dammit.

  26. HELENK says:


    this is bull shit. It does prove that there is a BIG difference between the law and justice

    The father protected his kid

    • Lulu says:

      It is a homicide. It will go before a grand jury. It will be ruled an accident and no billed. This is not a political prosecution but rather the way the system works in Texas. The young father did kill the guy and admits it but the GJ will rule accidental death and that will be the end of it. And that young guy must pack quite a punch especially when he is furious. I just hope the young child gets all of the love, attention, and counseling that she needs for however long she needs it.

    • Oswald says:

      All killings are homicides. Not all homicides are murders.

  27. leslie says:

    I just turned to TCH and saw TehOnce staring at me with the haughtiest of looks.. I’m through, I’m going home before I start screaming!!!!!
    I’ll check back in when I get home tonight. bbl

    • indigogrrl1 says:

      Every time I see that photo I find myself saying “please let it rain! PLEASE let it RAIN!!!”.

      Then I imagine tomorrows headline – “Hubris determined as cause in accidental drowning. “

      • leslie says:

        thanks indigo. you made me laugh out loud!
        (Just got down with house chores and had the opportunity to turn on the pc.

  28. driguana says:

    Mythter President…..
    Great article myiq….

  29. Lola-at-Large says:

    Myiq, I have a post scheduled for the AM, if you want to sleep in. Thanks.

  30. Karma says:

    Uncle Bill gives commencement address at nephew Tyler Clinton’s high school graduation. And Aunt Hillary shows up for the event as well. Pics at link


    • WMCB says:

      Steyn. Damn autocorrect.

      • myiq2xu says:

        I hate the Firefox spell check – it doesn’t recognize perfectly legitimate English words. It took them a couple years to figure out that “Obama” wasn’t a typo, but they still don’t like “blogosphere.”

  31. KT says:

    Matthew Continetti is the right-wing version of Jonathan Capehart. And yes, that means he’s a careerist weenie suck-up with regard to his bosses. Something to keep in mind.

  32. Pingback: Obama: A Cock And Bull Story « The Camp Of The Saints

  33. greencarman says:

    The only crock and bull story is this entire article.

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