By Dave Andrusko
Often what a biographer says about his subject says at least as much about him as it does about the individual whose life he is trying to interpret. I give you David Remnick, whose mancrush on President Obama–were it any more intense–could pose a threat to Mr. Obama’s wellbeing.
We’ve written before about Mr. Remnick’s undying faith in Mr. Obama. For example, “The Absurdly Fortunate Rise of Barack Obama.” He is, in every sense of the term, a True Believer.
He appeared today on “Morning Joe,” where Remnick (editor of the New Yorker and a recent puff piece on Obama) opined about Mr. Obama’s disappointment with…well, just about everything.
Before I get to his remarks (which were so unctuous they made others on the panel giggle), I’d like to quote what I wrote about Gwen Ifill’s Washington Post review of Remnick’s “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,” a 2010 biography which, while not the authorized biography, could have been.
Written by one Obamaphile (Gwen Ifill, moderator of PBS’s “This Week”) about the new book of another Obamaphile (The New Yorker’s David Remnick), Ifill actually concedes that Obama has led an incredibly charmed political life.
Ifill, who wrote her own ain’t-he-amazing book about Obama, praises Remnick’s “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” at some length only to suggest, however obliquely, that Remnick is so in the tank for Obama that he gives him the benefit of every possible doubt.
For example, Ifill writes, “If he [Obama] can’t be in control, he is ready to move on. Remnick mentions frequently how easily Obama can get bored. He was bored at Occidental, the first college he attended; bored at the University of Chicago, where as a teacher he focused on writing his first book; bored in the Illinois Senate; and even bored in the U.S. Senate, where he was more interested in writing his second book. Remnick obviously admires the president, so he does not interpret such lofty boredom as peevish or self-absorbed, as critics might.”
Then in another unintentionally hilarious remark, Ifill observes, “Perhaps it is that generosity to Obama — gushy praise, Nobel Peace Prizes — that drives his political competitors nuts.” Well…..
Well before he was even nominated, anyone who read even those who praised Obama effusively knew that Obama (to put it gently) had a highly limited attention span, an ego the size of Chicago, and a willingness to play hardball when it served his purposes.
All this–the immaturity and narcissism– was covered up by a supplicant press corps. So it is hardly comes as a surprise that the same people would hide how far down the field ObamaCare pushed the agenda of Planned Parenthood.
Which brings us to this morning. The following was transcribed by the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper. And, no, the following is not misreported; Remnick was just all over the place.
“The profile [of President Obama] that I published in the New Yorker was somebody that eerily, eerily seemed to be claiming himself–it was a sense of not giving up, but of deep frustration–that was the profile that I published in the New Yorker. Somebody frustrated and disappointed. And that’s what’s frustrating to me sometimes about Obama is that the world seems to disappoint him. [Laughter from others on the set.] Republicans disappoint him, [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad disappoints him, [Russian president Vladimir] Putin as well. And the fighting spirit sometimes is lacking in the performative aspects of the presidency. Do I think that at the end of eight years this will go down as a terrible presidency? I don’t. You do. I don’t. I think an enormous amount has been achieved.”
When you’re in the tank for the President as deeply as he is, you take the long view when the roof falls in. That aside, although Remnick’s a smart guy, I don’t think he actually heard or understood the impression he left.
Clearly, like the President, Remnick is deeply disappointed and very frustrated that many of the same people who elevated Obama to an almost cult-like status have abandoned him. Approval ratings barely in the 40% range? How can that be?
Moreover, all of these people (and their numbers grow almost daily) disappoint them both because they [us] miss the fundamental truths about the Obama presidency: “an enormous amount has been achieved” (to put it mildly, a hugely debatable proposition), and that Mr. Obama, in the only sense that counts, is too good for us.
That is, we really don’t deserve him. No more proof is needed than that we miss the Big Picture because we get bogged down in Mr. Obama too often lacking a “fighting spirit” in “the performative aspects of the presidency.”
What that might mean in English is up for grabs. I guessing that means Remnick judges us lacking because we are too blind to see that just because Mr. Obama comes off as one cold fish doesn’t mean that he isn’t accomplishing “an enormous amount.”
Let’s hope that both President Obama and Mr. Remnick continue to have reason to nurse their grievances. Because that would mean the public has fully awakened to reality behind the myth of President Obama.