And the Best Picture Metaphor for Obama Goes To….

Are you yet getting sick of the current Washington narrative? By that I mean the story of As the Rahm Turns. In my column, I note that all the DC hubbub about the White House chief of staff—is he at odds with the rest of Obama’s crew, and is he mounting an inside-the-court PR blitz to protect his own backside?—misses a key point. The president calls the shots.

Liberals disappointed with the Obama presidency—particularly its failure so far to adopt sweeping health care reform containing a public option (let alone pushing for a single-payer system)—seem to have spent too much time in James Cameron’s fantasy world:

Yes, he lent Rahm Emanuel one of the “link” machines from Avatar that allows the White House chief of staff to “drive” another being — and that being happens to be President Barack Obama.

But Emanuel’s fans in town—who are in unseemly fashion chatting up reporters—appear to believe the problem is that actually the president is not following Emanuel’s instincts.

All this Rahm-pondering aside, I note,

If anyone needs an Oscar movie reference, perhaps a better one would be The Hurt Locker, the Best Picture. In that film, Sgt. 1st Class William James is part of a bomb-disposal team in Iraq, but he’s the only member of the crew who has to confront the toughest choices: which wire to cut, when to take a chance, when to run. That’s Obama. There’s plenty of story in the tale of a powerful White House chief of staff, but if anyone is looking for someone to hold accountable for the current state of the Obama presidency, it’s the star of the production.

Then again, maybe the president is the director. I don’t know. But in Washington he sure is the king of the world.


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  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.