OFF THE GRID

101 Obama Nights: Are They Real?

Apr 30, 09 | 8:16 AM   byMichael Wolff
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The bottom line of the 100-day critiques of President Obama is that the guy is…incredible. Time gives him an A- and Michelle an A+. The right wing may be accusing him of socialism, but BusinessWeek is reporting that corporate America, like everybody else who isn’t a right-wing nutter, is in love with him, too. His 100-day news conference was loose and easy, according to Salon. Everywhere there is the obvious, almost pained, inability to criticize him very much. He’s perfect, after all.

Here’s the reasonable question to ask of a person who is universally loved: Is he a fake?

A phony, a wily seducer, a major cynic.

And will we find out?

(AP Photo)

For instance, the dog. All presidents have tried this animal trick—though the Obamas have really played it for all it’s worth—and have ended up looking somehow less noble than their animals. People respond in Pavlovian ways to public pooch (and one from an ailing Teddy Kennedy at that) tales, but they remember the manipulation, too. Still, this dog is going to be a big one (where as most presidential dogs are small), and someone else’s big dog is always irresistible.

And the most wonderful family ever to exist in the world? It’s a family, after all. Asking a family to remain perfect is a certain recipe for family disaster. What are they going to do with those girls when, as the term progresses, they become awkward and sullen? Hide them in the White House attic? And Michelle? From the openly recalcitrant and peeved spouse to the most brilliant first lady in history? This is so staged. On the other hand, there’s no sign of anyone breaking character.

My personal suspicion about the Obama tale is that his much-vaunted love of sports is baloney. The Wall Street Journal has a story which puts the Obama love of sport up there with Teddy Roosevelt. The idea, according to the Journal, is that sports are going to temper his loftiness. But that’s the point: “Lofty” guys—that is, abstract, in the head, mind-body split fellows—don’t like sports. Barack Obama plainly isn’t one of the guys. He’s got to be putting it on. But then there are the shirtless shots.

Here we are: The world is collapsing and yet these remarkable people are not only doing everything right, but they’ve made a gift of themselves to us.

We obviously want them to be a blissful distraction. We need, what with everything else, to be smitten. One hundred days of pleasure is our due.

But nobody is this good.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com.

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