I never really thought it would happen but we've reached a point where a few brave souls in the media are willing to point out that the promise of a brilliant Obama presidency hasn't been realized. The latest example is this piece of "analysis" (I hate that word when tied to news stories -- just go ahead and call it an editorial) by Matt Negrin at ABC News, headlined brutally:
Ouch. The article does that thing where it lays blame on partisanship for people not named Barack Obama, but the takeaway is still harsh and it says something about how the Democratic campaign is playing among some in the media:
The 2004 version of Barack Obama, who captured the nation with a dazzling speech about unity and went on to win the presidency on a message of hope, died on Monday. He was 8 years old.
The cause of death appeared to be a bitter realization that he needed to win reelection in an increasingly partisan political environment, a cancer that he had been battling for months if not years.
The article contrasts his 2004 speech where he said there was no conservative America or liberal America with his current mode of dividing Americans precisely on such lines (and others).
The article says that Obama has become one of those political peddlers he once warned us about and admitted as much in his recent defenses of the Bain attack ads as the basis for his campaign against Mitt Romney:
Obama's admission was in some ways the completion of a metamorphosis that began even during the 2008 campaign, as it became likely that he would be elected. After promising to throw out so-called politics as usual, Obama broke his first promise by rejecting public funding for his campaign because he could raise millions more on his own. He also ran negative ads against his opponent, John McCain, in that race, too.
I love a media that just now notices something the rest of us noticed four years ago, don't you? We learn about the similar hypocrisy regarding super PACs. It's not entirely his fault, we're reminded again. He had to be partisan on account of how the minority party so aggressively opposed his stimulus, auto bailout and health care overhaul:
At some point, his friends said, Obama realized that he couldn't hold Republicans' hands and govern with them. He started his own executive order campaign designed deliberately to run around Congress.
But the ending is so mean:
Some believers are in denial and insist that Obama of 2004 lives, perhaps muted or constrained by the newer version. They say he still serves as a symbol of hope to many followers, even if his campaign has adopted a decidedly negative approach. ...
Obama is survived by a president who will spend most of the next six months on the stump, railing against his Republican opponent as he tries to retain political power. A memorial service will be held at a fundraiser today in Colorado. In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted at the Priorities USA Action super PAC.
If a story this mean were about President Bush, it wouldn't have stood out among all the other news analysis stories. But this is about President Obama! And it's super mean. I hope Mr. Negrin doesn't get disappeared.