Monday, January 5, 2009

Want Obama To Succeed? Don't Idolize Him!

Barack Obama will not be sworn in for another 15 days, but the Obamapalooza is already in full swing here in Washington, where the soon-to-be first family arrived in town over the weekend. For the next 10 days, they will be living at the Hay-Adams hotel, just across Lafayette Park from the White House, and tourists have been lining up in hopes (mostly vain hopes, as it turns out) they will catch a glimpse of the Obamas.

Just read this rather breathless account from the Washington Post:

Just off the lobby at the Hay-Adams, where a lavish $65-a-plate Sunday brunch was underway, almost none of the well-dressed diners mentioned Obama or his family already ensconced in a suite upstairs.

Don't let the cool demeanors fool you, though, said one diner. "That's what everyone's thinking about even if they don't say it," Terrance Mason said later, a safe distance from the elegant dining room. "Just to be in the same building, to be breathing the same air. It's amazing."

Since moving to the District in 1999, Mason has run into the country's three most recent presidents. So with his 40th birthday coming up yesterday, Mason made reservations at the hotel's restaurant. What better way to celebrate than to go four for four?

Even before Obama's arrival, Mason noted, the 44th president had already made his mark on the city, or at least in the dining room of the Hay-Adams.
"I come here every couple months," Mason said. "I've never seen so many fellow African Americans up there before. He's already shaking things up, you know what I mean?"

A few tables away, one local family said they were so desperate for a glimpse of the future first family that the father had reserved a table for the brunch. So, decked out in their Sunday best, Jabreel Hampton and his wife and children slowly sipped their drinks, snapped photos and prayed that Michelle Obama or one of her daughters would somehow see their table and join in their mid-morning meal.

"I was thinking, 'They got to eat,' " said Hampton, of Damascus.

But instead, his family spent most of brunch nervously working out -- in vain, it turns out -- what they would say to the famous family.

"We love you," his wife suggested.

"We're glad that you're the president," his 8-year-old daughter offered.

It's not clear how close the Hamptons and other supporters will get to the Obama family in coming days and weeks, nor how much the Obamas will see of their newly adopted city.

By last night, when Obama's black limo pulled up to the hotel about 7:30 p.m., his new home had been transformed into a secured fortress. Steel barricades lined the sidewalks. Dual layers of concrete barriers cut off all paths to the hotel. All weekend, the hotel wouldn't even confirm that the Obamas would be guests. The most a spokesman would say was that its suites offered "an especially good view in the wintertime of the White House."

When the motorcade finally passed by, some in the crowd claimed that they spotted the president-elect, clad in a navy suit and blue tie, through the limo's windows. Others, including protesters busy demanding a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, missed it entirely.

Regardless of what they saw, many said they would be telling their children and grandchildren for years to come of this day, when the man who became president spent his first night with his family in the city they would now call home.

Folks - Barack Obama does not walk on water. He is a man. A man who is about to become President during the worst economy since the Great Depression. He cannot possibly live up to the hopes and expectations of his most devoted followers if they expect him to deliver miracles. He will be lucky if he can get to ANY of his major campaign initiatives in his first term, so he'll be campaigning for a second term from day one. And you won't be helping him at all with your lofty expectations.

To put this all in perspective, take a second look at this video that I posted during the campaign:

Good luck, Mr. Obama. You're going to need it.

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