OFF THE GRID

What Do We Do With Barack Obama?

Sep 30, 10 | 8:02 AM   byMichael Wolff
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Who likes the president?

Rich Democrats aren’t coughing up anymore, the Times reports. The Goldman Sachs crowd has dropped him cold.

His inside circle can’t seem to get out of the White House fast enough.

Approval ratings suck.

Other Democratic politicians don’t want him on the campaign trail.

Black people have, apparently, soured on him, too.

The people in the backyards he’s visiting don’t seem very happy about having them in their backyards.

Obviously anybody the least right-of-center finds him anathema.

Who’s left? There is a block, but they seem stoic, dug in, anti-Fox. And you certainly don’t hear much of a passionate defense from them anymore.

The answer is that nobody likes him as much as they did, or as much as they thought they would, or even as much as they thought they should.

At this moment, we have a largely unrecognizable figure in the White House. The weirdly continuing questions about his birth place and religion may be not so much a slur as a demented metaphor for his real lack of identity—and friends.

There’s a guilty sense, too. People are edging away from him because they now feel they got it so wrong. It’s buyer’s remorse with recrimination—self-recrimination.

How did everybody get it so wrong is a question many people seem to be asking themselves—not least of all these people slinking out of the White House.

It is not just that he has turned out to be something different. In fact, reasonably, he isn’t that different. The more powerful sense of remorse or at least sheepishness may come from people now asking themselves how and why they came to think of him as different than he was. More confounding, they may not really now be able to remember just who exactly they thought he was.

So to refocus the story: Some mass misperception put Barack Obama in the White House and now nobody knows what to do with him.

Can there be a more awkward situation?

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. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWolffNYC.
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