President Obama’s poor debate performance may have shattered some illusions among his supporters in the liberal media elite. Having invested themselves in the illusion of him as the fulfillment of the liberal dream of shattering glass ceilings and pernicious racial stereotypes, his evident lack of preparation felt like a betrayal to some. They are starting to catch on that they bought into an illusion. So they are turning on him.
The comments which follow savaging Obama are worth reading, too. Perhaps, as Cliff Thier suggests, the cover “has brought a very downmarket element to the New Yorker’s web site. Very uncouth comments. It’s like a motorcycle gang has invaded a bucolic college campus.”
Then there is Bill Maher, who famously donated a million dollars to an Obama superPAC. During the debate he tweeted that Obama really does need a teleprompter, and on his latest show joked that Obama took his million bucks and must have spent it all on weed.
Many of us have long recognized the indisputable signs of a lazy man who has never been challenged, and who thinks he walks on water. A man who has been blessed with all the breaks, and yet who thinks of himself as the member of a victim class, and its natural champion. A man whose success is all based on creating the appearance of competence, never its substance.
Now that Obama stands under the spotlight and faces an adversary able to outshine him, the illusion is crumbling. Expect more derision.
Lurking in the background is the specter of becoming a laughingstock. James Taranto, in a brilliant WSJ column, invokes the ultimate peril: becoming like George Costanza of Seinfeld. Describing Obama’s attempt the day after the debate to supply adequate rejoinders:
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza summed it up nicely in a tweet: “Obama hitting back today at all of Romney’s attacks last night is the ultimate Costanza ‘jerk store’ moment.” (If you don’t understand the reference, you can watch the relevant “Seinfeld” clip on YouTube. And you’ll know things have really gotten bad for Obama if he tries the Kramer gambit after the next debate.)
Ridicule is a fast spreading contagion. It once was confined to the conservative blogosphere and talk radio. Now it has breached the walls of the media elite.