Thursday, January 28, 2010

I used to call Obama "the mirrorball" before he was elected president, because it struck me as the best metaphor for his deliberate affect - a reflective sphere which returns to the viewer a funhouse distortion of whatever hopes or fears the viewer is projecting upon his surface, and an unknown darkened interior known only by whatever lies below the silvered surface.

This is, apparently, what you get once the man in the interior begins to show through. It's frightening in a non-partisan fashion, honestly. What happens if the president has a nervous breakdown? Will his aides wire him up like a puppet, rule through him like Mrs. Wilson after the stroke?

Maybe it isn't what it looks like. Maybe he really does want to be queen, a hand-waving figurehead content to leave governance to some de facto first minister. That's essentially what he tried to do with Reid and Pelosi. In the current analysis, this vision of Her Majesty Barrack I is by far the most preferable of options, like Elizabeth II putting up with Blair with a petulant moue of disgusted resignation. If he wasn't a secret radical, or a would-be tyrant, but merely a limited narcissist satisfied with empty trappings and decorum and adulation - that's survivable, I think. We can make it through the end of his term without any catastrophes if he collapses into an ineffective, inert heap of ceremonial display.

I think.

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