Jonah Goldberg

And by September 2008, his campaign was running ads ridiculing his opponent, Sen. John McCain, because he couldn't send an email. Never mind that McCain's inability had nothing to do with technological ineptitude and everything to with the war hero having been so brutally beaten by the Viet Cong that he physically couldn't use a keyboard. His wife would read his emails to him.

Of course, Obama won. People liked his story.

Some say President Obama has been a smashing success, achieving everything he promised to do. He himself told "60 Minutes" in December that his domestic and foreign-policy accomplishments exceeded those of any president "with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR and Lincoln."

Others claim President Obama was stymied at every turn by an obstructionist Congress that wanted him to fail. Interestingly, both stories can be heard coming out of the president's own mouth on any given day.

But last month he added a new twist to his tale. He told CBS News that "the mistake of my first term -- couple of years -- was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right." What Obama forgot to do was "to tell a story to the American people."

What a curious thing to say, particularly for such a storyteller. It amounts to: "I did everything right, but the public can't see it without a story.

By the way, if amassing $4 trillion in debt over eight years is "unpatriotic," how does racking up $5 trillion more in four years add up to "getting the policy right"?

And what was he focusing on? It's an uncontroversial observation inside the Beltway that Obama farmed out the stimulus and health care to congressional Democrats. What was he doing if not telling stories about green-energy magic and invisible recovery summers?

Just in the last few weeks, the Obama campaign or its surrogates have accused (either directly or by insinuation) his opponent -- I mean Mitt Romney, not "cynicism" -- of hastening a cancer death, being a tax cheat, and wanting to put black people in chains and give children E. coli.

But fear not. If you don't like those stories, the president has more. He's always got more stories. And he actually believes them, too.


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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