Back when I used to do political blogging in earnest, I got in the habit of keeping a folder on my desktop where I would stash links to politically interesting posts online in case I wanted to find them later. Somehow I never got out of the habit; I’ve been doing it ever since.

About a year and a half ago I created a new folder in it named “Obama-sama”. Shall we take a trip in time, back a year?

Cultwatch: Union Station, New York Times

Snapped this pic at DC’s Union Station this afternoon, on my way from the Amtrak platform to the Metro (where the machine dispensed a metrocard featuring a grinning BHO). Readers planning to visit DC will be happy to know that you can get all your Obama-related tchotchkes and talismans in one convenient locale right after you get off the train.

Say what you will about hapless Jerry Ford, but he had this going for him: nobody ever thought of making an action figure in his image.

The Obama Infatuation

The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment; but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.

Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means. The leaderless and confused Republicans don’t provide effective opposition. And the press — on domestic, if not foreign, policy — has so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.

Obama has inspired a collective fawning. What started in the campaign (the chief victim was Hillary Clinton, not John McCain) has continued, as a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism shows. It concludes: “President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House.”

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: Obama is ‘Sort of God’:

Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: “I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.”

Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: “I think the President’s speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful…But what I liked about the President’s speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility…The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world.”

Woodrow Wilson’s Heir:

President Obama likes to see himself as a pragmatist, but in foreign policy he is proving to be a supreme idealist of the Woodrow Wilson variety.

Like Wilson’s, Obama’s foreign policy increasingly seems to rest on the assumption that nations will act on the basis of what they perceive to be the goodwill, good intentions or moral purity of other nations, in particular the United States. If other nations have refused to cooperate with us, it is because they perceive the United States as aggressive or evil. Obama’s job is to change that perception. From the outreach to Iran and to Muslims, to the call for eliminating all nuclear weapons, to the desire for a “reset” in relations with Russia, the central point of Obama’s diplomacy is that America is, suddenly, different. It has changed. It is better. It is time, therefore, for other nations to cooperate.

A troubling lack of pure evil:

But now, well, not so much. The Age of Obama has brought both a terrific upswelling of general positivism and a concomitant grand lightening up/toning down of outrageous verbiage and ranting extremism among the hotheaded-dictator set, and with it the strangest thing of all: an apparent global decline in overt, easily identifiable flameballs of tangible evil.

Just look around. The entire reptilian Republican party, our cherished font of evil ideas and evil intentions, is now just a cute, leaderless sideshow of circus freaks, all bluster and tantrum and Sarah Palin’s kooky gams. It’s quite a spectacle: One of the two major political parties in the United States is now entirely run by a blowhard talk radio cow, an insane Fox News comedian and a crusty bomb-thrower dug up from the vault of 1988 (Hi, Newt!)

And the evil tyrants? Struggling for relevance, mostly. Saddam’s long gone, Kim Jong-Il is a batty coot, Iran’s Ahmenijhad’s bark is far worse than his bite, and even harmless thugs like Castro and Hugo Chavez are stunned to humble reverence by an American president who abides no such childish bulls–t and exudes actual integrity and preternatural calm.

And I’ll include this, from September 2009. Obama, The Mortal, by Charles Krauthammer:

After a disastrous summer — mistaking his mandate, believing his press, centralizing power, governing left, disdaining citizens for (of all things) organizing — Obama is in trouble.

Let’s be clear: This is a fall, not a collapse. He’s not been repudiated or even defeated. He will likely regroup and pass some version of health insurance reform that will restore some of his clout and popularity.

But what has occurred — irreversibly — is this: He’s become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He’s regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.

For a man who only recently bred a cult, ordinariness is a great burden, and for his acolytes, a crushing disappointment. Obama has become a politician like others. And like other flailing presidents, he will try to salvage a cherished reform — and his own standing — with yet another prime-time speech.

But for the first time since election night in Grant Park, he will appear in the most unfamiliar of guises — mere mortal, a treacherous transformation to which a man of Obama’s supreme self-regard may never adapt.

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