I like Jay Cost. He’s a smart guy. But he ain’t no S/F geek, and it shows in articles like this:
You cannot explain how Obama the candidate or Obama the President communicates with the public by assuming that it is all a product of strategic thinking. A strategy implies a goal and a credible explanation as to why a particular action will help accomplish that goal. Too many of his activities are inexplicable by this language of strategic rationality. Recall the Summer of 2008 when candidate Obama seemed particularly weightless: the “Seal of Obama,” his European tour, his grandiose convention stage. There was something more to each of these than the simple determination that they were the best ways to spread his message to the masses.
There was also that entire “Office of the President-Elect” thing, but that was obviously just for that two month period where the President-elect needed his binky. Oh, did I write that out? My bad.
I had this revelation back in August of 2008*, and I’ve seen no reason to change it since: then-Senator and now-President Obama is a secret cosplayer. For those wondering, ‘cosplay’ is essentially freeform LARPing… umm, ‘LARPing’ is short for Live-Action Role-Playing… err, ‘role-playing’ is a system where you pretend to be a character completely unlike yourself, and then you go have adventures where you describe what you’re doing to a guy, then he tells you what people are doing to you, and then you roll some dice, derive great delight and/or sorrow when there’s a low probability result, and then you make a Monty Python reference and have more Fritos. At regular points, the guy in charge tells you that your character is now more awesome, which usually means that you can roll more dice.
So Barack Obama is like that, only without the dice, and probably the Fritos, and there isn’t anybody telling him what his character (Dude The Like Totally McAwesome Best President EVAR) is doing – but he’s got all these spiffy props and costumes to wear, so that’s all right.
So I guess that I disagree with Jay later when he calls the President vain. Not… really. Obama’s just completely oblivious to the reaction that people have to his antics when they’re not inclined to go along for the ride. Which is not me saying that the President is dumb; science fiction fandom is rife with people who are simultaneously bright and oblivious. And it’s also not me saying that the President has Asperger’s syndrome; I am, after all, not a trained mental health professional of any sort. What I am saying is that there’s a pretty good chance that the President simply doesn’t grok yet that the way that he’s being President could have any adverse effects on his ability to be President after 2012…
For the record; it’s kind of tooth-grating to see how naively optimistic some of my posts were, back then. Ach, well, it’s nothing compared to the naive optimism of most of those poor buggers on the Other Side. Those sad, sorry sorts wake up every morning to the smell of their own party leadership running 20,000 volts through their livers.