Honeymoon-Over Watch: Daschle and the Post-Racial Presidency

Tom Daschle withdrew as nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services yesterday, reportedly to enable him to audition for a better-paying movie gig as Harry Potter’s dad.

The Washington Post reports (emphasis added):

Obama officials had sought a seamless transition, nominating most of his Cabinet at record pace and taking office ready to implement a raft of new policies. His reversal yesterday suggested that speed may have come at a cost, and that Obama, despite the overwhelming popularity he had upon taking office and the major challenges facing the nation, will not be spared from the same kind of scrutiny his predecessors have faced.

MoDo takes the gloves off:

It took Daschle’s resignation to shake the president out of his arrogant attitude that his charmed circle doesn’t have to abide by the lofty standards he lectured the rest of us about for two years.

Dana Milbank wrote, “If this is Obama’s honeymoon, one shudders to think what a lovers’ quarrel would look like. “

Going “meta” for a moment, the honeymoon may be over for the “Honeymoon-Over Watch.” A Google search for Obama honeymoon returns 2,880,000 results, indicating that the metaphor may not be quite as fresh and insightful as I imagined when I turned it into a category on my blog.

I think the end of the honeymoon is a good thing — and not because of any ill will toward Obama. I see it as a sign that Obama is making a transition from being the first African-American president to the much more essential and powerful role of being simply the American president.

For now, it may still be the case that only an Establishment liberal like Maureen Dowd can call Obama “arrogant” without prompting accusations that it’s a code word for “uppity.” We are just a few short months removed from the ludicrous notion that observations about Obama’s “inexperience” constitute some sort of racial code. But as Obama adapts to a role where he can no longer vote “present,” he will have additional opportunities to attract criticism from across the political spectrum. If people grow used to the idea that it’s possible to criticize a black person without being a racist, our society will have made an important step toward racial equality.

(Photo: UPI)

4 thoughts on “Honeymoon-Over Watch: Daschle and the Post-Racial Presidency

  1. So I guess you didn’t catch the Politico piece on Stephanopoulos?


    There will be some in the media who couldn’t help themselves in fawning over Obama during the election, but will now be critical when he doesn’t live up to whatever qualities they projected onto him. And then there are those who are hopelessly interwoven into both politics and journalism, such as “Stuffinenvelopes”, that objectivity will never be anything more than an illusion.

    So many in the media were so invested in Obama (to be a part of “history” it was said, albeit only the Democrat version) that it will be interesting to see how they each react if Obama governs from the center. Will another poorly-done movie about rendition be made, since Obama will keep the practice (which actually originated under Clinton, not Bush43) available?

  2. According to Merriam-Webster arrogant means: exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner

    Barack Obama is not arrogant. Give him a chance.

    Can you imagine John McCain trying to deal with this situation?

  3. We can only look forward to the day when Obama can be criticized and there be no fear of being called a racist.

    As for the one of the above commenters, I sure get tired of people saying about Obama, “Just give him a chance!”

    He has been campaigning for two years, for heaven’s sake! During that time, one of the criticisms about Obama was his lack of experience. Even his vice president said that the presidency is no place for on the job training.

    And now Obama’s lack of experience is clearly showing.

    What’s he going to do when we have another 9/11?

  4. John, I don’t think Obama is particularly arrogant as politicians go — I quoted that to show that he’s taking criticism from the left, and to make the point about racial code.

    I think some on the right are making too big a deal out of Daschle. I consider this is a glitch, not a crisis — I left a comment to that effect on a Victor Davis Hanson column at Pajamas Media.

    Chris & Paul, despite all the campaigning, Obama is still somewhat of an unknown. A lot of people are going to revise their opinions about him — in various ways. My opinion of him has improved since Election Day, because he shows signs of being serious about national security, such as keeping Gates as Defense Secretary.

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