by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Storybook Man, of course, is President Obama, so labeled because of the famous Joe Biden comment from 2007:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” He added: “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Jonah Goldberg‘s latest column at National Review Online explores that Storybook Man concept.
The problem for Obama was that he always believed the most ludicrous version of Storybook Man. He once told a reporter, “You know, I actually believe my own [bovine excrement].”
For a guy who supposedly gives wonderful speeches, he rarely persuades the unpersuaded or inspires those he didn’t already have at “hello.” That’s partly the fault of his speechwriters, who always did him the disservice of producing the kind of pedantic and clichéd boilerplate that Obama mistook for soaring oratory. He thought he smashed through the Democratic primaries like a battering ram through concrete when he mostly pushed on open doors.
As president, he’s convinced himself that he is a policy wonk with a deeper understanding of the machinery of government and the mysteries of the economy than even his advisers. And yet he had to learn on the job that “shovel-ready jobs” were magic beans sold to him by party hacks hungry for pork. He bought a stimulus that only stimulated political cronies. In the debate, he touted windmills and solar power as the energy sources of the future as if he still honestly believed that.
The media’s infatuation with Obama and/or their contempt for his critics only served to reinforce his delusions. When the press laughs at all of your jokes and takes your glib excuses as profound insights, the inevitable result is a kind of flabby narcissism. Kings can be forgiven for thinking they are the greatest poets when the court weeps at their clunky limericks.
The Obama who delivered a shockingly lackluster convention speech last month is the same man who walked into that Denver stadium in 2008 to rapturous approval. The man who lost the debate Wednesday night is the same man who never managed to make Obamacare popular after more than 50 speeches and pronouncements on it in his first year.
The key difference now is that the hunger for Obama has been replaced with the indigestion that follows after four unimpressive years in office.