Noemie Emery –
ARLINGTON, VA – SEPTEMBER 11: U.S. President Barack Obama (C), speaks during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the Pentagon, September 11, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. U.S. President Barack Obama joined staff and family members at the Pentagon to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Barack Obama is a wonderful salesman of a singular product: himself. His effect and biography make a spectacular package. Slender and graceful, with a remarkable speaking voice, his facsimiles stare at you from fashion spreads everywhere, while his life story — up from obscure and unlikely beginnings, black and white, Kenya and Kansas, the strange and the all too corny and familiar — is the story of how life should be.
Obama tells his story through his personal medium really well: writing best-selling biographies before he was 40, making himself a senator on the strength of these stories, and then president on the strength of a speech. The upside of this is that he portrays himself beautifully. The downside is that this seems to be all he can do.
In the Illinois state Senate, he voted “present.” In the United States Senate, he sponsored little in the way of real legislation. As president, he has failed so badly to do what he promised that he has been forced to downgrade his slogan from “Yes, We Can!” to “No One Could Have Done It,” to “Maybe We Can’t Do It Yet.”