when I see Obama on television, I’m unfailingly struck by his intelligence and charisma, by his easygoing humor, by the magnificence of his megawatt smile. He just makes me proud, and perhaps this is where I should admit that if there are two categories of Obama critics—conservatives who never liked the guy and have in some cases become unhinged since he was elected, and centrists or Democrats who voted for him but now feel let down—I suspect that, in the visceral nature of my response to our president, I have more in common with the unhinged nut jobs. By this I mean that my Obama admiration is a kind of emotional inverse of the right-wing Obama antipathy: I can pretend it’s all about policy, but in truth, it’s much more personal. Where his detractors dislike him because of, say, that Muslim vibe he gives off, I like him for similarly nebulous, albeit slightly more factual reasons.
I like that he’s married to—and seemingly still quite taken with—a strong, opinionated, gorgeous woman, and that he has two ridiculously cute daughters. I like his mind-bendingly multicultural extended family. I like that in a campaign interview in Glamour magazine, he could fluently and unabashedly talk about Pap smears. I thought that the beer summit of 2009 was delightful. I was even excited when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, not realizing until pundits explained otherwise that I was supposed to be aghast at its prematurity. And I wasn’t a bit offended by Obama’s alleged 2008 debate gaffe—a line the otherwise irreproachable Frank Rich mentioned yet again in a column as recently as September—in remarking to Hillary Clinton, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” Oh, and did I mention that I actually voted for Hillary in Missouri’s Democratic primary? I was one of those Democrats who thought it’d be nice to have an entrée of eight years of Hillary, with Obama as a vice-presidential side, followed by eight years of a more seasoned Obama as the main course. I was always an Obama admirer, but maybe the fact that I was initially rooting for Hillary has prevented me from feeling the disappointment in his presidency expressed by certain Obamamaniacs. So swoony and ardent was their Obama love during the campaign that it couldn’t be sustained; my more measured affection, by contrast, has grown over time.
Rest assured, polls suggest the author is not representative.