All this liberal talk about the press heroically holding presidents accountable is easily undermined by Sunday's edition of The Washington Post Magazine. The Post can't help but declare that they are available for rental (or full ownership) by the Obama White House with a 12-page spread of nostalgic Obama photos....taken by White House staff photographer Pete Souza. The headline was "The Obama Years: during his two terms, the sources of a president's strength were always on display." True. One source of Obama's strength was basically owning The Washington Post.
It started with a two-page hand-to-face White House photo of Obama that was the same image CNN lovingly used in its two-hour special on his "legacy."
In the very same issue as the 12-page sticky valentine/photo album from the Obama Fan Club, the Post Magazine ran a 12-page spread by their Trump-investigating reporter David Fahrenthold. That headline was "My Year With Trump: A Post reporter on uncovering the would-be president's record on charitable donations and receiving that notorious video." The president-elect is merely "the would-be president," after he won? Like the Post is a "would-be newspaper"?
While Fahrenthold explained how he dogged Trump and his charitable foundation for nine months -- a portrait in Holding Politicians Accountable -- Post Magazine articles editor Marcia Davis wrote an essay to accompany the photo album, a portrait in Cuddling Politicians And Whispering Sweet Nothings. The Davis essay carried its own small headline: "He amazed with his range. And graced us with his passion. He confounded, too."
To be first means glory and pain.
In the beginning some engaged in a bit of magical thinking about a “post-racial” America.
Others knew better, that the country was far from such a thing.
Then there were those who saw a world turned upside down: Where others saw promise, they saw peril. Social progress looked like a threat.
But there the Obamas stood, a portrait of family and fortitude.
Through it all — the rescuing of a collapsed economy; the fights to address health care and climate change and national security; and the hunt for Osama bin Laden; and efforts at education, immigration and gun control; the unyielding wars and drone strikes and deportations; an open Guantanamo; and Republican obstructionism — this is what held fast: dignity, family, a joyfulness to be of service.
Even in the face of racism — pointed or veiled — they forged ahead through the work, and loved and laughed and celebrated.
On a personal level, their marriage balanced romance and purpose.
On a presidential one, U.S. troops were prioritized, issues such as equal pay and criminal justice tackled.
And there was the birth of White House cool. The doors flung wide for the arts and for children. A garden was flush with vegetables.
The Beltway brigade called President Obama aloof. But that’s not what many Americans saw. They would come to know him not only as POTUS, but as a husband and a father.
He amazed with his range: He could lecture on the Constitution and explain the profundities of rap artist Kendrick Lamar.
And surprised: A man with impeccable comedic timing — often self-deprecating — and steeled nerves. Remember that 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner where he skewered Donald Trump as U.S. Special Operations forces were pursuing bin Laden?
Bill Clinton would surely be angry about Obama causing "the birth of White House cool," since he wanted to be the first black president, at least in those terms of being hip and cool. Imagine a president putting on his resume "Can explain the profundities of 'Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe.'"