President Everyman

[UPDATE] 2:

Via Echidne, Dana Milbank tells us Obama is the first female president. Just shoot me now.

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[UPDATE]:

Apparently our real first gay president was James Buchanan. I had no idea.

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What is it about President Obama that makes everyone want to imprint him with some idiotic label?

Today we learn that Newsweek has declared Obama our first gay president. The issue is not available online yet, but the cover has been released:

Oh, puh-leeze. Dear media: please stop this nonsense. That’s just the stupidest thing ever. Obama is not gay so he is not our first gay president, just like Bill Clinton is not black and he was not our first black president. Y’all are being too cute by half. It was dumb then and it’s dumb now. Please hold off on the labels for the day when an actual gay man or woman is elected president of the United States. Which, considering they can’t even get married in most states, I’m not holding my breath over.

The media does this all the damn time. It’s childish and lazy but since when has our national punditry been anything else? Obama is a Zelig-like figure in the American media’s eye, someone for whom any convenient label is viewed as a means to sell magazines. Obama isn’t just our first black president or our first gay president, he’s also:

Our first Jewish president? Seriously? After all the wingnuts tried to tell us he’s Muslim? Fascinating! But don’t stop there, he’s also:

A feminist! Of course, maybe not the first feminist president. Newsweek has already been down the label path, though. Remember this one?

I’m trying to get the psychology at work here. I just looked through an image search of magazine covers featuring George W. Bush. They focused on the decisions he made. Bush was the definer in chief, he arrived on the scene fully-formed: resolute even when wrong, man of faith, yada yada.

There’s something about Obama that makes the media want to define him, and that tells me he hasn’t done a good enough job of defining himself, which is weird, considering he’s written two autobiographies. I find it very strange.

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17 Comments

Filed under Media, President Barack Obama

17 responses to “President Everyman

  1. Ivan Ivanovich Renko

    It’s really very very simple.

    The man is intelligent, competent, AND blackity black black black.

    Does not compute!

    Therefore there has to be something else at play..

  2. “There’s something about Obama that makes the media want to define him…”

    And they can’t say, “Uppity nigger” and get away with it.

  3. Min

    You notice the press only seems to do this kind of thing with Democratic presidents. Hmmm…

  4. Randy

    I’m holding out for the first Pastafarian Prez.

    There’s already a Pirate Party in Sweden. Those Scandi’s have all the fun.

  5. Well, he is the first Kenyalizardomuslifascistheist president–or at least some of the credible boobs on the right would have us believe.

  6. ThresherK

    The more Newsweek struggles to catch anyone’s attention, the more hack they get. I didn’t see that last cover, and shudder to think how “contrarian” one has to be to take the article seriously. Thanks for stooping to the depths of digging into newsweeklies so your readers don’t have to.

    PS Caveat: Men can be feminists, I thought.

    But we’re still working on our political lexicon for Jewish-friendly Christian and gay-friendly straight.

    • Men can be feminists, I thought.

      Absolutely! Didn’t mean to imply that they couldn’t. Just making a point about all of what the media views as “interest groups” trying to claim Obama for their own when in fact he belongs to everyone.

      • ThresherK

        Cool. I figured you meant that.

        I was more thinking about how Ms. called him a feminist, and meant it as a compliment. In the “same planet different worls”, I’m sure National Review could run the same photo as an insult. If they haven’t already.

      • Well I think being labeled the first Jewish president and the first gay president were designed to be compliments too. But yeah NR views labels differently … who was the right wing pundit who a few days ago said he didn’t think Obama could get any gayer? And he sure as hell didn’t mean it as a compliment.

      • greennotGreen

        *You* don’t mean to imply that men can’t be feminists, but the media do. Just like apparently one has to be Jewish to support Israel, gay to support LGBT rights, female to support reproductive rights, et cetera. To allow that a person can promote policies that don’t benefit that person’s immediate self-interest is a markedly liberal idea which would both mess with the media’s need for “balance” and their ability to pigeon-hole individuals.

      • Just like apparently one has to be Jewish to support Israel….

        Tell that to all the fundiegelicals out there who are Israel’s biggest boosters… somehow it’s supposed to bring Jesus back sooner or something. But I get your point. Whenever a wealthy person like Warren Buffett supports progressive taxation they’re all like, “Har har he’s a rich guy!” And yes. He’s a rich guy. That’s the fucking point.

  7. As Brad Delong often says: “Why, oh why, can’t we have a better press corps?”

    But to an economist, I should think the answer would be obvious.

    JzB

  8. ThresherK

    Someone tell Dana Milbank there’s nothing more womanly than trying to fill Maureen Dowd’s Pradas.

    Could he be any more of a pussy?

  9. Randy

    These comments seem to suggest that all those people that voted for BHO because they thought he was a Muslim Transsexual are really disappointed.

  10. That’s to sell the magazine. Anything for a buck. I heard Newsweek is struggling to stay afloat.