Obama's Super-bubble

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THE PLANK DECEMBER 30, 2008

Obama's Super-bubble

A couple of days ago,
Politico posted a piece about
how the closing of the presidential bubble was already beginning to chafe
Barack Obama. All I could think was: Better make peace with it quickly, my man,
because things are about to get so much worse. 

All presidents suffer culture
shock when the office's lack of person freedom hits home. There's a reason that
Bill Clinton whined that the White House was "the jewel of the federal
prison system." Not being able to sneeze, jog, or choke on a pretzel
without its being documented for historical purposes takes a toll on a body.

Presumably, Obama will feel the
strain more than some of his predecessors because of his relative youth, his
inexperience with such constraints, and his fondness for personal privacy. But
I'm wondering if, in addition, 44's bubble will actually be appreciably more
air-tight than ordinary because of his status as our first black
president. 

Not to focus on the macabre--or
to disparage Obama's post-racial sense of self--but there are still enough
unreconstructed racists running around with screws loose and guns loaded (a matter of concern for
some African-Americans in the early stages of the presidential race) to merit
extra precautions. I mean, sweet Jesus, can you imagine the fallout if anything
untoward were to happen to our historic new leader? The outpouring of outrage
in the nation's major cities could make the 1968 riots look like a collection
of block parties. Were I part of the Secret Service detail covering
Renegade, I'd beg the guy never to leave the Oval Office without donning a Kevlar
chadri.

I
realize, of course, that this
is neither a practical nor a healthy way to manage a president. Sends a
bad signal
about one's ability to stay in touch with the people. That said, I hope
the president-elect doesn't have his heart set on last-minute desert
runs with the girls
post-January 20th. Once Obama is actually the leader of the free
world, it will take three weeks notice, an executive order, and the threatened
wrath of Michelle just to get him to the occasional soccer game.

--Michelle Cottle

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