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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

E.J. Dionne argues that President Obama cannot try to repeat his optimistic 2008 campaign if he wants to be re-elected, in his column, “Obama: Can A Messiah Win Twice?”

Four years ago this week, a young and inspirational senator who promised to turn history’s page swept the Iowa caucuses and began his irresistible rise to the White House.

Barack Obama was unlike any candidate the country had seen before. More than a mere politician, he became a cultural icon, “the biggest celebrity in the world,” as a John McCain ad accurately if mischievously described him. He was the object of near adoration among the young, launching what often felt like a religious revival. Artists poured out musical compositions devoted to his victory in a rich variety of forms, from reggae and hip-hop to the Celtic folk song. (My personal favorite: “There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama.”) Electoral contests rarely hold out the possibility of making all things new, but Obama’s supporters in large numbers fervently believed that 2008 was exactly such a campaign.

As the attention of the politically minded has focused on the rather more down-to-earth contests in Iowa and New Hampshire that will help determine which Republican will face Obama in November, let us ponder what the coming year will bring for someone who must now seek re-election as a mere mortal.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci

Ever since the Republican Party devolved into a wholly owned subsidiary of former President Donald Trump, it is increasingly preoccupied with conspiracy theories and smear campaigns. For Trump himself, as well as such Trump operatives as Roger Stone, smears and conspiracies define their politics, rather than policy or principle. Over the past few years, unfortunately, we have become accustomed to their grimy style.

The latest target of their fantasies and defamations is Dr. Anthony Fauci, now among the most familiar faces in America as the principal presidential adviser on the coronavirus. Fauci has become someone about whom right-wing noisemakers feel free to fabricate vicious lies. They slander him incessantly because — in the course of performing his duty to the nation — he displeased their master.

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