Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Shield Cracks

 

When the hermetic, perfect world created in 2008 came into being, the Lightbringer at its center was protected from the moment of his nomination in a kind of numinous cloud of cultural, media and elite opinion protection.

Jokes about Obama, well…they just weren’t funny. “It’s hard to make fun of Obama in general because he’s a cool character,” said Jimmy Kimmel. Noah Rothman called it “Obama’s prohibitive coolness.”

Criticism of his policies and politics were obviously racist in nature…what other explanation could possibly obtain? Mockery of his pomposity, his flagrant sense of personal grandeur, his Administration-as-personality-cult was a product of Republican sour grapes (and, duh, racism).

Even the mild comedic hits on Obama in popular culture were anodyne, bloodless things and mostly along the themes of his coolness, his intellect, his perfection. He was the straight man to the GOP foil. He was the cool kid in the room full of conservative dorks. One famous incident of self-editing to protect the image of President Cool was a spiked SNL skit.

What strikes me about the New Yorker cover is that it not only clearly takes Obama down several pegs, but references the Eastwood moment of the RNC convention, which we were assured by our betters for several weeks was a disaster for the Romney campaign. Think about it: the New Yorker is mocking Barack Obama using an image from a gag from the Republican National Convention.

It’s a singularity of irony, they just don’t know it.

The cracks in the Acela Corridor’s Barack Protection Protocol are showing because Obama’s most compelling attribute was the belief that his intellectual prowess is unmatched by any President, perhaps any mortal. A cornerstone of their faith in him was always that Barack Obama’s intellectual firepower could be deployed at will, and destroy Mitt Romney at a time and place of the President’s choosing.

What they saw Wednesday night wasn’t the demigod they’ve protected like so many cultural Myrmidons, but a stammering, detached, utterly outclassed man hoisted on the petard of his own laziness and incuriousity. The damage to their perception of him isn’t enough to draw them to Romney, but in their post-modern, super-ironic world, the moment Obama showed weakness, he became a legitimate target.

The cover of the New Yorker — one of the tentpoles of respectable liberalism and elite opinion — is a signifier of the scope of Obama’s failure this week. 

As the dozens of snarky articles, brutal editorial cartoons, late night comedy shows taking new and unaccustomed shots at Obama (I’m not counting Chris Matthews and his epic rant) build up a certain cultural momentum, the sense that Obama’s failings are suddenly funny is a deadly virus in the bloodstream of liberal opinion.

Barack Obama is a man of abundantly evident self-regard. The growing sound of mockery and derision must be painful to him, especially coming from the unexpected quarters of his erstwhile allies. Once the mockery starts, it’s hard to stop. Ask Bill Clinton.

The clues of an Obama meltdown in high-, low- and even pop-culture tell me that the next debates for Obama aren’t just consequential: they’re existential.

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  1. jt Inactive
    jt
    Rick Wilson:

    Criticism of his policies and politics wereobviouslyracist in nature…what other explanation couldpossiblyobtain?

    Lefties are offended that Romney would speak to the President this way. On lefty talk radio the things that I have heard are along the lines of:

    • Romney cheated because he was lying all the way through – followed by examples of “lies”.
    • Obama was looking down because he was afraid he would burst out laughing at Romney’s lies.
    • Where was Lehrer? He let Romney get away with his lies.
    • I was appalled at Romney comparing the President to his “boys”. He was calling the President “boy”. Racist!!!
    • Priorities are where people put their money – Romney puts his in the Cayman Islands.
    • Romney was an aggressive bully. Obama was reserved, polite, presidential.

    The threat is that we’ll see a “feistier Obama” next time. This is dangerous for Obama. Judging by his latest speeches he’s likely to come across as a failed, incompetent President slinging mud at a smart, sensible, accomplished man. His base and probably his instincts are pushing him to be nastier since he has few accomplishments to run on. Bye-bye moderates and undecideds.

    • #1
    • October 6, 2012, at 1:19 AM PDT
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  2. Dudley Inactive

    The Emperor is butt nekkid!

    • #2
    • October 6, 2012, at 3:04 AM PDT
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  3. HoosierDaddy Member
    HoosierDaddy Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Dudley: The Emperor is butt nekkid! · 0 minutes ago

    Biden knows it, that’s why he could comment authoritatively on the size of his stick.

    • #3
    • October 6, 2012, at 3:13 AM PDT
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  4. ChrisC Member

    I agree that the New Yorker cover is shocking – kind of like having a Sarah Palin editorial on in the NYT. But it is not possible to overstate how deeply held ideas, like Obama’s perfection, are held by liberal true believers. Having worked in higher education, I have met liberal professors who were unabashed fans of Stalin – an extreme example of hanging on to failed leftist ideas, to be sure. It’s wound up in the fiber of their being and one bad debate performance is not going to pry it loose.

    • #4
    • October 6, 2012, at 4:54 AM PDT
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  5. Cuban Mike Inactive
    One of the throng of stalwart liberals at work recommended a New Yorker article on child rearing a few months back, my daughter was only weeks old then. I scoffed at the suggestion, to his bewilderment. Should I reconsider given the latest cover? Nah.On a related note, the gentleman in question thought Clint’s empty chair skit was just plain awful and not the least bit funny. Wonder if he finally gets the joke?
    • #5
    • October 6, 2012, at 5:04 AM PDT
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  6. HerrForce1 Coolidge
    HerrForce1 Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    In Obama terms & perception, these debates are just bumps in the road.

    • #6
    • October 6, 2012, at 5:05 AM PDT
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  7. At The Rubicon Inactive
    Dave Carter

    You’re not alone at all. But I wouldn’t depend on Obama’s rattle alone. Obama will likely be an angry customer next time, and Governor Romney would be well served to be at least as prepared next time as he was last Wednesday. 

    This strategy of being well prepared is one that all successful business people understand: He who is best prepared wins.

    It was abundantly clear Wednesday night that Mitt is inside Obama’s OODA loop. Watching Mitt’s face, you could see that he was prepared for everything that Obama said and already had his prepared response ready long before Obama finished speaking. Mitt was well-prepared. I have no doubt that Mitt is STILL inside Teh Wan’s head and will be as equally prepared next time as well.

    • #7
    • October 6, 2012, at 5:36 AM PDT
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  8. HeartofFLA Inactive
    RightinChicago: WOW That was the most finely written post I have ever read on Ricochet. I concur wholeheartedly. · 6 hours ago

    I agree. This post nails it. I might just have to “borrow” it.

    • #8
    • October 6, 2012, at 5:51 AM PDT
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  9. Larry3435 Inactive

    Apparently, Obama believes he is running against the caricature of Mitt Romney made up by his campaign. I think he was shocked that the guy on stage with him was the actual Mitt Romney, as opposed to the fantasy that Obama calls the “real” Mitt Romney. After all, Romney’s positions can’t be what Romney says they are. Romney’s “real” positions are the ones that appear in Obama’s teleprompter. I think we all knew that Obama wants the world to see him only through the window of his teleprompter, but I was unaware until now that he only sees the world back through that same window.

    • #9
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:22 AM PDT
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  10. mezzrow Member
    mezzrow Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “No pressure.”

    • #10
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:32 AM PDT
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  11. Dave Carter Podcaster

    Brilliantly stated, sir. As for Barack Obama, the little demigod has become mortal. Somehow I doubt we’ll be seeing many of those halo pictures that used to dot the landscape of magazine racks.

    • #11
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:33 AM PDT
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  12. ConservativeWanderer Inactive

    Am I alone in hoping that the end of the adulation will rattle Obama to the point where he does even worse in the next debates, as opposed to better?

    • #12
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:35 AM PDT
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  13. Dave Carter Podcaster
    ConservativeWanderer: Am I alone in hoping that the end of the adulation will rattle Obama to the point where he does even worse in the next debates, as opposed to better? · 2 minutes ago

    You’re not alone at all. But I wouldn’t depend on Obama’s rattle alone. Obama will likely be an angry customer next time, and Governor Romney would be well served to be at least as prepared next time as he was last Wednesday.

    • #13
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:40 AM PDT
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  14. ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    Dave Carter
    ConservativeWanderer: Am I alone in hoping that the end of the adulation will rattle Obama to the point where he does even worse in the next debates, as opposed to better? · 2 minutes ago

    You’re not alone at all. But I wouldn’t depend on Obama’s rattle alone. Obama will likely be an angry customer next time, and Governor Romney would be well served to be at least as prepared next time as he was last Wednesday. · 0 minutes ago

    Angry people make mistakes. I would hope Mitt is ready to knock Barack’s errors out of the park.

    • #14
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:47 AM PDT
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  15. DocJay Inactive

    I’m hoping he messes up even worse. The comedy comes when the narcissists world falls apart. I’m positive he’s blamed his inner circle for his own shortcomings as admitting he’s wrong isn’t in his makeup. 

    If he really loses it then his book and speaking deals will take a hit. Sweet justice.

    • #15
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:53 AM PDT
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  16. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’d be interested to read about the debate preparation process from both camps. One would (or should) be pushed on one’s own views, exposed to the other sides views – be willing to be ‘dressed down’, roughed up & mocked.

    Considering that, what do you think those sessions looked like for Obama. Does anyone really think Kerry was able to do that, or did they just talk about what a joke those folks in the GOP are? They are so insulated/protected that they succumb very quickly when not in a protected environment.

    • #16
    • October 6, 2012, at 6:59 AM PDT
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  17. Rick Wilson Contributor
    Rick Wilson

    Thank you! The halo pics were always a favorite of mine. Unsubtle, much?

    Dave Carter: Brilliantly stated, sir. As for Barack Obama, the little demigod has become mortal. Somehow I doubt we’ll be seeing many of those halo pictures that used to dot the landscape of magazine racks. · 31 minutes ago

    Edited 29 minutes ago

    • #17
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:04 AM PDT
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  18. Rick Wilson Contributor
    Rick Wilson

    From your lips to Valerie Jarrett’s ear.

    ConservativeWanderer: Am I alone in hoping that the end of the adulation will rattle Obama to the point where he does even worse in the next debates, as opposed to better? · 30 minutes ago
    • #18
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:06 AM PDT
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  19. Rick Wilson Contributor
    Rick Wilson

    Indeed…remember, Obama is a brand, not just a man.

    DocJay: I’m hoping he messes up even worse. The comedy comes when the narcissists world falls apart. I’m positive he’s blamed his inner circle for his own shortcomings as admitting he’s wrong isn’t in his makeup. 

    If he really loses it then his book and speaking deals will take a hit. Sweet justice. · 13 minutes ago

    • #19
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:07 AM PDT
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  20. HoosierDaddy Member
    HoosierDaddy Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Don’t forget that the Newsweek cover story didn’t seem to hurt Obama at all. And none of the criticism from the left after the debate questions Obama’s ideas, only that he didn’t fight back against Romney’s “lies”.

    Not a single democrat or undecided voter I’m aware of was influenced by the Ferguson story.

    I don’t think there has been a crack in Obama’s media shield. His poor performance has rallied them to demand that he improve by merely returning to his true self, and rallying themselves to the new narrative that everything Romney says is a lie.

    The place to look for cracks is in the ‘downticket’ races.

    • #20
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:16 AM PDT
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  21. RedRules Inactive

    Lolz:

    …because Obama’s most compelling attribute was the belief that his intellectual prowess is unmatched by any President, perhaps any mortal.

    • #21
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:17 AM PDT
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  22. Last Outpost on the Right Inactive

    It’s a singularity of irony, they just don’t know it.

    The left has been flummoxed by this entire cycle. And I’m almost certain that – although Obama wants to be better prepared for debate #2 – I don’t think they know how to prepare. He’s never been in this position before. He might not even be able to accept that he is in this position. 

    • #22
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:19 AM PDT
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  23. RedRules Inactive

    I agree with DocJay in that Obama, being infallible and all, can’t POSSIBLY be at fault for the disaster that was his first debate. I also love that in more than a couple places I have seen (not just conservatives) opining that the media softballs over the years only hurt the big O.

    • #23
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:20 AM PDT
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  24. ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    Last Outpost on the Right: It’s a singularity of irony, they just don’t know it.

    The left has been flummoxed by this entire cycle. And I’m almost certain that – although Obama wants to be better prepared for debate #2 – I don’t think they know how to prepare. He’s never been in this position before. He might not even be able to accept that he is in this position. · 0 minutes ago

    Now that, sir, is a very astute observation.

    I kind of doubt that he can accept that he lost… I think he is deep in denial.

    • #24
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:21 AM PDT
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  25. RedRules Inactive

    LOOTR, the problem for liberals is that their philosophy is all pie-in-the-sky, cotton-candy, cloud-city fantasy. How do you effectively defend a ‘principle’ that is built on the shifting sand of public opinion and the quest for power?

    • #25
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:22 AM PDT
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  26. DocJay Inactive
    Kowaliczko Tom: I’d be interested to read about the debate preparation process from both camps. One would (or should) be pushed on one’s own views, exposed to the other sides views – be willing to be ‘dressed down’, roughed up & mocked.

    Considering that, what do you think those sessions looked like for Obama. Does anyone really think Kerry was able to do that, or did they just talk about what a joke those folks in the GOP are? They are so insulated/protected that they succumb very quickly when not in a protected environment. · 2 minutes ago

    Either Kerry /Obama could not preparewell or did not prepare well. I’m inclined to think the combination were ill suited for serious battle.

    • #26
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:26 AM PDT
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  27. DocJay Inactive
    RedRules: I agree with DocJay in that Obama, being infallible and all, can’t POSSIBLY be at fault for the disaster that was his first debate. I also love that in more than a couple places I have seen (not just conservatives) opining that the media softballs over the years only hurt the big O. · 0 minutes ago

    Until Univision, I don’t think he’s had to answer a tough random question in four years. Rick’s right, he’s a brand and not a man, but there’s soon to be a nationwide recall.

    Answering something about how hard it is to be awesome at everything is not exactly the honing of the mental skills one needs to hang with the big dogs.

    • #27
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:27 AM PDT
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  28. Scott R Member
    Scott R Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Rick Wilson:

    The clues of an Obama meltdown in high-, low- and even pop-culture tell me that the next debates for Obama aren’t just consequential: they’re existential.

    That is a great sentence.

    If Obama interprets the state of affairs that same way (and I bet he does), he’ll be a mess emotionally. The man’s a beta-male bully who’s been thoroughly humiliated by a man he can now scarcely look in the eye — and he has to face him twice more.

    Fetal position. Under the Resolute Desk.

    • #28
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:47 AM PDT
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  29. Essgee Inactive

    Obama is surrounded by people who don’t have a clue. They are so busy projecting, they fail to understand that not everyone sees things their way. So I am not sure Obama can overcome his own narcissism and that of everyone who surrounds him…they all suffer from the same thing.

    Kerry cannot prepare him ecause Obama thinks he is smarter. Yet, Kerry is like a mirror to Obama, not a representation of Romney. 

    Romney is unpretentious in nature. The more he states what he sees as the proper course for the future and the failure of this administration to correct things, the more he iritates Obama. But the more he states it in an affable manner, the greater the One is likely to blow. 

     Obama cannot imagine being bested by someone whom he cannot find dirt on…it is not his way of playing. Obama never knew a man like him, thought they didn’t exist. He will bully him.

    Romney is actually in control. I think that in an attempt to assert himself, Obama will become less cool, more agitated. At that point, Romney will win.

    Barack might not understand he lost….but no doubt, Michelle did.

    • #29
    • October 6, 2012, at 7:52 AM PDT
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  30. Man With the Axe Member

    Just as a single gaffe does not destroy a politician’s reputation for intelligence but a series of them does , so a single bad debate performance will not destroy Obama, but a series of poor debate performances will. 

    • #30
    • October 6, 2012, at 8:46 AM PDT
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