Let me start by saying, there's absolutely nothing wrong with crying over Barack Obama's election or his inauguration. In fact I tried to muster up a few manly tears of my own while I watched his inaugural address, but no dice. At first I thought maybe I was too icy-hearted. Then I figured maybe it just hadn't hit me. But finally, today I realized it's because I was—and am at the end of the day—a huge cynic.
Like many others, I felt that some of the sights that were set for his presidency—between him, the media and the public—were just too high for any real, savvy politician to achieve. So as much as I wanted to see him do things like reduce the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington, I wasn't ready to bet on it.
Fast forward to this week. Weeks after (re)taking the oath of office, Obama bumped his head as he boarded Marine One (the president's helicopter). It's a pretty fitting metaphor for his admittedly young presidency. He strode confidently and briskly up to the helicopter, seeming a bit self-conscious about the cameras' watching him. He walked up the staircase and began to look back and wave, when the pesky door frame blindsided him. Likewise a brilliant, disciplined, but self-conscious Obama deliberately moved toward the presidency, and as he crossed the threshold, Bam. A contentious stimulus, a few tax problems for the cabinet, some resignations (including Republican Judd Gregg yesterday) hit him over the head, even after meticulous planning for a smooth transition.
It's probably worth noting that Bush bumped his head on the chopper as well, not to mention his door trouble. However, unlike President George W. Bush in his encounter with the door, Obama quickly recovered and moved on as if nothing had happened. An opportunity to extend the metaphor? I think so.
You see, I imagine two other presidents in the same situation aboard Marine One: Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Jimmy Carter probably would've hit his head and tumbled down the steps, fractured a rib and limped back to the White House in full view of the cameras. Reagan probably would've felt the aura of the door when it was six inches away and deftly used mind control to bend it upward so it would avoid his head. I figure Obama was closer to Reagan than Carter. Let's hope the metaphor stands.
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