The Corner

The President is Sad

From my column today:

One can understand his frustration. The guy who once said to a reporter during the 2008 campaign, “You know, I actually believe my own bulls***” about fundamentally transforming America, is now forced to run as a reactionary, defending “Medicare as we know it” from “radicals” who — gasp! — want to change America. The overrated and inexperienced politician, accustomed to nothing but adulation, who was swept into office thanks to discontent with the incumbent, is now himself the incumbent desperately trying to explain how he’s done nothing wrong.

He demonized George W. Bush as an evil fool, but Obama has been forced to adopt many of the very policies he derided as evil and foolish. The “change” candidate is now the “more of the same” guy.

That’d put anybody in a funk.

But I don’t care. The presidency is not like his Nobel Prize — an award for just being you. If you hate the job, don’t run.

Moreover, I don’t think that’s the whole story. Many of his seemingly self-pitying jokes and asides just don’t seem that innocent to me, never mind endearing.

He may sincerely have wished his awesome job came with a cooler phone (or a Bat Signal perhaps?), and he may honestly feel trapped in a bubble. But he’s also determined to pretend that he is running “against Washington” in 2012. And that is outrageous nonsense for a president who effectively owned the government for two years.

Already his campaign’s messaging is all about recapturing the feeling of insurgency from the first time around. Finish the mission. Complete the work. Remember the feeling. That’s why he’s running his reelection campaign out of Chicago, as if people won’t notice he’s the incumbent.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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