Vanity Fair Compares Obama to Jefferson

November 9th, 2013

What a fascinating, and deep comparison:

He may be the biggest presidential paradox since Thomas Jefferson, the slaveholder who wrote the Declaration of Independence: a community organizer who works alone.

And this too, teases out, very subtly some serious racial themes:

 It is Obama’s unwavering discipline to keep his cool when others are losing theirs, and it seems likely that no black man who behaved otherwise could ever have won the presidency.

They even go to his childhood, with the same theme:

It is impossible to know whether Obama’s go-it-alone approach is instinctual or learned, but he comes by it honestly—and painfully. From a far earlier age and to a far greater degree than is generally understood, Obama has always been alone. He was abandoned not only by his black African father, whom he later met just once at age 10, but also by his white American mother, who left him as a teenager with her parents in Hawaii to pursue graduate fieldwork in anthropology in Indonesia. At an age when most adolescents are grappling with how to break away from their families, Obama’s had crumbled away from him.

“Away from my mother, away from my grandparents, I was engaged in a fitful interior struggle,” he would write in Dreams from My Father. “I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know what that meant.”

I recently finished “This Town,” and started “Double Down: Game Change II.” This is a constant theme I’m getting from these books. The President is indeed by himself in many, many respects.