When I previously used the title phrase “The End of the Narrative” in January 2011, after the 2010 election rout by the Tea Party, it was accurate to an extent, but largely premature. Here is what I said then:
“As we welcome the new year and a new political season, having given considerable time to analyzing the meaning of the November elections, one thing is abundantly clear: the mystique of the Obama narrative is over and the reality of governing has finally overtaken this administration. Until now, President Obama has been significantly aloof, above it all, possessed of his own exceptionalism (not to be confused with the truly American brand) based on the strength of his unique personal narrative, that he is not only different from those “ghosts”, as he has called them, pictured on U. S. currency but somehow immune to their burdens. Well, the people didn’t buy it. In fact, they soundly rejected it, and any notion that it would have been different if the unemployment rate had been two points lower or GDP growth a couple of points higher is moot, but nonsense. The basic underlying themes of domestic policy pursued by this regime are alien to the American psyche. A student of history should have known this.”
I stand by this analysis, but what I didn’t recognize then is the depth of the fraud, or to use Bill Clinton’s characterization, “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen”, embodied in the mystique of Barack Obama’s narrative, nor did I understand the extent to which he and his fellow travelers in the media could completely mask the reality of the fraud. But now, finally, thanks to Mitt Romney’s performance in the first presidential debate, the real Obama has been exposed on a stage and in a directly confrontational way that no amount of spin could mask.
Basically, there is no “there” there. Obama is not serious, having conducted no important policy work for quite some time. In contrast, for example, Hillary Clinton is serious. Whatever one thinks about her, she is doing serious work. Paul Ryan is serious, doing serious work. Obama is not. It’s been all about him and the permanent campaign, all about this narrative. And he uses only the media outlets that maximize his advantage–Letterman, The View, and other trivialities–again not serious, which reflects badly on our priorities as a people. And if he succeeds, which he still might do, he will be justified regardless of substance, and will have confirmed for many that this is the only important objective. And if so, this is where we will have arrived–the politics of narrative devoid of substance; a sad outcome for a noble nation historically led by serious people that desperately needs extraordinary leadership from very serious people now more than ever.