Jonah Goldberg

One can understand his frustration. The guy who once said to a reporter during the 2008 campaign, "You know, I actually believe my own bulls---" about fundamentally transforming America is now forced to run as a reactionary, defending "Medicare as we know it" from "radicals" who -- gasp! -- want to change America. The overrated and inexperienced politician, accustomed to nothing but adulation, who was swept into office thanks to discontent with the incumbent, is now himself the incumbent desperately trying to explain how he's done nothing wrong.

He demonized George W. Bush as an evil fool, but Obama has been forced to adopt many of the very policies he derided as evil and foolish. The "change" candidate is now the "more of the same" guy.

That'd put anybody in a funk.

But I don't care. The presidency is not like his Nobel Prize -- an award for just being you. If you hate the job, don't run.

Moreover, I don't think that's the whole story. Many of his seemingly self-pitying jokes and asides just don't seem that innocent to me, never mind endearing.

He may sincerely have wished his awesome job came with a cooler phone (or a Bat Signal perhaps?), and he may honestly feel trapped in a bubble. But he's also determined to pretend that he is running "against Washington" in 2012. And that is outrageous nonsense, for a president who effectively owned the government for two years.

Already his campaign's messaging is all about recapturing the feeling of insurgency from the first time around. Finish the mission. Complete the work. Remember the feeling. That's why he's running his re-election campaign out of Chicago, as if people won't notice he's the incumbent.

Obama has never run on a record. He's always run almost literally on a hope and a prayer. Now he must defend what he has done -- and what he has failed to do.

If that makes him cranky, that's just too bad.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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