Joni Mitchell once sang:
Don’t it always seem to go
You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
Apparently, the Obamas sing this regularly, but they mean that we don’t know what we’ve got in them, according to Jodi Kantor’s new book, The Obamas, as Jim Geraghty reports. When they went to Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize, the Obamas began complaining to their friends that Americans just didn’t appreciate their genius, or something:
But amid the bad news and pressures of late 2009, the trip unexpectedly passed like a brief, happy fantasy for the president, a Nordic alternate reality where citizens were learned and pensive, discussions were thoughtful, and everyone was a fan. “It wasn’t hero worship,” said one adviser who accompanied them. “Okay, it was.”
For one day, the Obamas lived in the dream version of his presidency instead of the depressing reality. At meals and receptions, they mingled with the members of the Royal Academy – government officials, academics…
The trip spurred a thought the Obamas and their friends would voice to each other again and again as the president’s popularity continued to decline: the American public just did not appreciate their exceptional leader. The president “could get 70 or 80 percent of the vote anywhere but the U.S.” [President Obama’s old friend] Marty Nesbitt told [another old friend of Obama] Eric Whitaker indignantly.”
Er, okay. And this disenchantment with American voters took place less than nine months into his term. What exactly had Obama accomplished to warrant “hero worship”? Or for that matter, the Nobel Peace Prize?
I’ve got an idea. Maybe the Obamas should leave the US in January and live in Norway a few years. When we miss him enough, he can come back — but, Mr. President, don’t call us … we’ll call you.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!