Second Thoughts About the Obamessiah?

Posted: Jun 12, 2008 9:57 PM
Remarkably, some of the cooler inside-the-beltway heads are beginning to express a little skepticism about Barack Obama.  Howard Fineman writes sharply about the Jim Johnson debacle:

[H]is relationship—now abruptly ended—with a wealthy Democratic Washington denizen named Jim Johnson is way more than a mere Inside-the-Beltway story. It's a deeply revealing episode from beginning to end.

What we learn is that Obama by instinct is no revolutionary, but rather a soothing semi-insurgent  seemingly eager to reassure the very Establishments he claims to be eager to assault. We learn that he has yet to master the art of keeping his cool when someone (an opponent or the press) has the temerity to question his decision-making. We learn that his first instinct is to brush off criticism with a flick of a finger.

Hardly the honeyed tones of reverence that often seem to characterize Newsweek's Obama coverage (although Fineman does plant the seeds for a new Obama meme: He may make mistakes, and lots of 'em . . . but gosh, he's a quick learner!)

Similarly, the WaPo's Jim Hoagland comes down hard on Barack:

But what is important here is what this incident says about Obama, not about Johnson. The senator's initial reaction was to portray himself as too busy to keep up with the obscure financial doings of people who are not significant to the campaign and to belittle the media for asking him to "vet the vetters."

To treat Johnson, Holder and Kennedy suddenly as mere fact-checkers is as disingenuous as it is ungracious. Obama is clearly the most intelligent candidate of either party since Bill Clinton. But he can outsmart himself if he goes on expecting the media and the public to accept just about any explanation he gives.

Only time will tell whether MSM disillusionment with Barack will grow, or whether this criticism is as tough as the media intends to get.   It could well be that such critiques are only the precursor to a new round of Obama love-in media coverage.

But among the press, the pangs of disappointed adoration can lead to some sharp criticism, and Barack's self-proclaimed status as the harbinger of a "new kind of politics" has given him some pretty big shoes to fill.