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Barack Obama Everywhere

"Stick out your tongue."

I did so, and the dentist wrapped some gauze around it and said, "I need to explain myself about the public option."

Stunned, I raised myself up in the chair and looked. It was Barack Obama.

"I'm both for it and against it," the president said. I tried to bolt but he had me by the tongue. I squirmed and cursed like Rahm Emanuel, and finally he had to let go. I ran from the exam room, pausing in the outer office to make my next appointment but the receptionist looked a lot like Barack Obama and so I kept on moving. Hitting the street, I jumped a cab. "The Washington Post," I said, "and step on it."

"You got it, buddy," the driver said -- and turned around. It was Barack Obama. "Let me tell you something," he said. "The public option is not what it sounds like. It’s not socialism. This is what I tried to explain on "Meet the Press," "Face the Nation," "State of the Union," "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Jorge Ramos on Univision and, I think, "Sesame Street," although I may not have done that one yet.”

The cab stopped for a light and I opened the door and ran. I did the couple of blocks to my office in record time, and when I got there I switched on my favorite public affairs show, "The View.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was Barbara Obama and Whoopi Obama and Joy Obama and Sherri Obama, and their guest was Madonna Obama, and they were all discussing health care reform -- single-payer and Cadillac plans and cooperatives and how not all clinics worked so well. Joy Obama said, "Hold the Mayo," and everyone laughed. But me. I grabbed for the remote control and desperately searched for something else.

I flipped past Barack Obama standing hip high in water doing a stand-up for the Weather Channel, and then someone named Cesar Obama who was whispering to a Mexican Chihuahua about single-payer programs, and then I saw -- I swear I did -- Barack Obama in the arms of Tom DeLay on “Dancing With the Stars," and he was singing a soft song about the uninsured. They were doing the tango and DeLay looked ridiculous.

I went from channel to channel: Barack Obama listening politely as Brian Williams explained the importance of health reform, Derek Obama hitting for the Yankees, Wolf Obama in the Situation Room that really counts, and over at Fox News, no Obama at all –just O’Reilly and the boys recreating the rec room scene from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest.”

By this time, I feared I was losing my mind, and so I went to see my shrink, a noted Reichian with a garnish of Adler. Leaning back on the couch, I told him about my Barack Obama obsession, but he said I was not hallucinating. Obama was everywhere, but that was not the important thing. The important thing was public gardens. I bolted up straight.

It was Michelle.

By Richard Cohen  | September 22, 2009; 10:01 AM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
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Well, as one commentator said, he has been on every channel but the Food Channel. But, it isn't this that bothers me - it is that all of the questions are the same, so much so that the President has had coaching as to how to give a slightly different spin to his answers. He has to, or people would just get bored. Obviously, he is comfortable with dividing the nation - he won't talk to the viewers of Fox News Channel. He only wants to talk to his own supporters, the half of the nation which voted for him, and they voted for him partly in the belief that he would try to unite the nation. One friend of mine, who does NOT watch Fox News regularly, said that he will not watch the President UNLESS he speaks to all the nation. I watch several channels. But, I have concerns about the President's plans (not about health care reform, which I want, or a single payer system - which I have - Medicare). The President should have looked at some successful European plans. Of course, I guess I am a racist, because I don't think that the President's plans can be funded without massive cuts in Medicare. If such cuts are carried out, seniors like me will surely die. And, I think that we need more doctors and more hospitals, too. I couldn't get a bed the last time I went in. I can't see how that makes me a racist, but Jimmy Carter and so many others are too prominent to be wrong. Anyway, surely there are some better ways to do this - such as including limiting malpractice, offering plans across state lines, capping lawyers' fees. Oh, well, we will get something. It will be a terrible plan, that will help bankrupt the country, but it will be declared a success, and future Congresses will have to try to repair a bad system. We need reform, but creating a worse system to replace a bad one isn't a solution. It is good politics, though.

Posted by: gkleinfeld | September 22, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"He's here, he's there, he's EVERYWHERE..."
Yeah he's everywhere, but he STILL has done nothing useful...let alone fulfill any of his campaign promises. WHY is America too stupid to realize he's been playing the socialite but has accomplished nothing as POTUS? America really HAS gotten "dumbed-down"!! Nobody has had enough intelligence to ask Obama, "When are you actually going to DO something?" I guess they'd rather be stupidly entertained. That's all the boy is good for...

Posted by: flipper49 | September 22, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama, The worlds greatest orator, appraring at a campus near you soon. The thrill of a lifetime. Don't mis it.


Posted by: Billw3 | September 22, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

So,why did WAPO not even mention that Obama
Crooked DOJ Fake US Attorney General Loser
Eric Holder was finally forced to agree to
Investigate ACORN? Can we all say "Cover UP
And White Wash?" Come on WAPO become a real
Newspaper Again,not just an Obama Post And
Obama Fluff Rag! I will not miss WAPO Or
Obama Post when it goes under,since all it
is nowdays just another Obama Press Release Rag. I wonder if WAPO will delete
my comments as soon as Fred Hiatt sees it?
So,much for Freedom Of Press & Speech under
the Marxist Barack Obama Dictatorship.

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | September 22, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Funny isn't it that people can STILL think a public option is socialist. I guess even with all the exposure, people just don't get it? Is that your point dude? Most Americans have been brainwashed growing up in the Cold War to cringe at hearing the word Socialism. Its a bad, bad word. And it is too easy for republicans to defeat any meaningful chance at social progress by screaming it. Perhaps these conservatives prefer straight-up regulation of the insurance industry or maybe even making doctors and hospitals salaried employees of the state? Now those sound more like socialist options to me. A public option competing in the private market is not socialism. It is a capitalist solution for a capitalist-crazy country. But there are those who will never get it. So sad.

Posted by: jpc7227 | September 22, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I see the picture of our future. Chavez just turned off all TV stations, teaching socialism in schools. We're next america, are you ready?

Posted by: MOMLEE | September 22, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Grandpa Cornpants, for those pearls of cracker barrel wisdom.

Better than Ambien.

Posted by: Dolmance | September 22, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

All Obama...All the Time...
The Egomaniac-in-Chief...

Posted by: newbeeboy | September 22, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

How can private companies compete with the tax money driven USA brand?
USA doesn't have to make a profit. In fact, they're quite used to losing our money and then asking for more

Posted by: drrad102 | September 22, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama is begining to feel like a very dear friend. The more he exposes his charming, easy humor and deep intellect to the haters, one by one he'll win them over. And it's because the image they have bought from the rabid right politicians and commentators doesn't fit the real man he is.

Posted by: AverageJane | September 22, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama is pushing change in America...the Republicans never change anything. There are problems and they need to be addressed. Just because some might not be operfect or even might fail does not mean that we shouldn't try. Obama is trying to effect positive change and so far he is doing a fine job. He speaks well, is highly presentable and gregarious...why shouldn't he use these attributes to enlighten America as to his intent?

Posted by: owlafaye | September 22, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

As long as you realize that speaking well is not enough and change for its own sake is not necessarily progress

Posted by: drrad102 | September 22, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"he won't talk to the viewers of Fox News Channel. "

Hilarious. I didn't realize Fox News viewers had monochannel televisions!

Tom Toles today is worth 100,000 Cohens. Tom Toles any day is worth 100,000 Cohens, including days he does not provide a cartoon.

Posted by: bdballard | September 22, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Richard is pretty funny in this column, and also the canary in the coal mine for the future of Obama's brand of politics.

If liberals such as Richarad are sick of this guy's ubiquity, then he his party is toast in 2010 and he's a one termer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 22, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@billw3 "Obama, The worlds greatest orator, appraring at a campus near you soon. The thrill of a lifetime. Don't mis it."

You wrote three sentences. Each sentence contains a glaring error. Perhaps some time on campus might do you some good? lol

Posted by: deanrd7 | September 22, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

If you average over both of our amateur Presidents (Obama and Bush II), you get about the right amount of media exposure for someone in this job.

Posted by: Wallenstein | September 22, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

He's the hardest working man in America. ... So what? When He speaks, .... people listen.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Tonight on Animal Planet, President Barack Obama will go in search of the elusive red panda. Then at ten, see him in an original Lifetime movie: "The President Bored My Baby: A Mother's Tale."

Posted by: CubsFan | September 22, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"....Obama is begining to feel like a very dear friend. The more he exposes his charming, easy humor and deep intellect to the haters, one by one he'll win them over...."

Go back on the meds my friend, please. I cringe everytime I hear his voice of late. I can't even watch the NFL without being terrified of being exposed to the Keith Olberman racist hate machine. I weep for for our children everytime Matthews and Maher pop up and the volume is not muted. The do as I say, not as I do cult of Neocommies will surely do themselves in and soon. Al Franken a Senator? Minnisotans must be so proud!

Posted by: MDDem1 | September 22, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

This clever satire is so funny because it's so true. Obama's hyper active disingenuous approach isn't fooling the public. I don't hink Barry gets it.

Posted by: parlan | September 22, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

This is so funny because it's so true. Obama's not fooling the public and his insider are afraid to tell him.

Posted by: parlan | September 22, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey parlan - when you call Obama Barry, it clues people in who they are listening to. Perhaps you haven't heard yet that the Birthers are America's new laughingstocks.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 22, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama everywhere?

Well, HE'S the president, duely elected.

The offensive "everywhere" is the Cohens of the country..

the Jewish Neocons screaming their fool heads off about Obama because he's going to
stand up to Israel.

The problem is, after seeing Jackson Diehl
's little screed yesterday, he the
Dep. Editorial Board Editor for this
Israeli first paper, spilled the beans...

in a way that is going to set Americans and the rest of the world, that reads the newspaper in the American capitol, on furious notice.

Scream on about this president you twaddeling one expects anything else.

But the times, they will be a changing.

Posted by: whistling | September 22, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Obama is now getting scarey.He is so full of himself that he apparently believes the force of his own personality and eloquently,nuanced lies will ultimately drive a health care program that people have rejected.As opposed to being irritated,I`m concerned since so much is dependent on Obama`s effectiveness and rational leadership.A speech a day in who cares where won`t create jobs and protect our national security.

Posted by: bowspray | September 22, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who can appear on Dave Letterman's show, and in simple
conversation explain what he's looking for in this incredibly complicated proposed healthcare legislation while laughing at his critics, is brilliant. President Obama is a talented speaker as everyone recognizes, and why shouldn't he be out on the various
soapbox programs, making his case? I just wish he'd started earlier.

Posted by: miramar50 | September 22, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

just to counter balance the addlebrained, paranoid, teabag bigots posting their bile against the best president this country has had in a long while, count me in his corner, firmly.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | September 22, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama who???
Isn't that Barry Soroeto? Hey ...I am sure it was Barry Dunham.

NPD sociopathic dual profile seems to have a new profile schitzoidal lives.

Posted by: dottydo | September 22, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Cohen? Still here?

Thought for certain you'd have jumped into Oyving's grave the other day.

Posted by: mot2win | September 22, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Just yesterday I had a conversation with my radical left cousin who by the way has 2 masters degrees and working on her doctorate. Soooo according to her, everyone has basic human rights. The right to housing, the right to food, the right to health care and the right to educaction. With my mouth agape I said, "What would ever drive you out of your comfy bed if the government provided all those supposedly human rights. She could not answer. I'm sure if she thought about it enough she would come up with some community welfare group she could contribute to but what I got out of that conversation is that there are some really good hearted people (including my cousin) who just simply think that a government should provide all of the above mentioned things. As a conservative I just don't get it but hey, it seems there are a lot of lefties around who want to be taken care of.

Posted by: mmg16 | September 22, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

this is basically a copy of "being john malkovich" and it is not well written. you are my favorite op ed writer and this does not do you justice. it is not funny and makes no sense.

let's face it barack is all we got going in news right now, everything else is kind of boring...jay leno? snl? no halls? tom delay dancing makes the news? thank god we have someone who is a little cary grant with a little jimmy stewart.

Posted by: JuanBetancourt | September 22, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Who is Buffy Wicks, and how outraged are you that you are paying her salary?

Posted by: thebump | September 22, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

The questions were submitted in adavance; that's why he sounds like a parrott.

Posted by: lweaton1 | September 22, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

It's a refreshing change from the past 8 years. One conservative poster is "concerned". Where was your "concern" during the last administration. Gimme a break.

Get over it. Obama won.

Posted by: RobertaHigginbotham | September 23, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Obama won.

Posted by: canadian4life | September 23, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, it's a nice change from "Nowhere Man" George W. Bush who needed Uncle Dick to hold his hand when he appeared before the 911 commission, despite being unrecorded and not under oath.

That same President appeared only before hand-selected faux-Town Halls. In contrast, our current Leader has even accepted the absurd nonsense that citizens be permitted to carry firearms to his Town Halls.

Lest readers dismiss my observations as partisan, let me state that I have never been a member of either the Republican or Democratic parties. I committed my last partisan act in 1980 when I voted for Ed Clark. I also voted for John McCain and Barry Goldwater.

Posted by: eebsnallof | September 23, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

It should not surprise us that the Republicans will be against edverything the President doew to win. If there is a chance to win with 51 votes in the Senate - they warn against it. "We will not be happy!" And if he is on television enough to make his points and gather public support, then they lose. "We do not like it!" is an appropriate counter.

But why does Richard have to believe it?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 23, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse


Your cousin for all her formal education failed to clarify a position that has some merit. First, let me point out that my first memory of the democratic process was when my father took me to a voting booth when he voted for Richard Nixon against John Kennedy. He was a Goldwater Republican and though never a Republican (or Democrat), I voted for Goldwater as my Senator decades later.

Taxes by definition are a form of redistribution of wealth. As it happens, I live in state that receives only 61 cents in services for every dollar paid in Federal taxes. Every other state receives more for their dollar than mine. Only Rhode Island was on a 1:1 basis. It is not unfair to see those that receive more than they pay in as "Welfare States." Interestingly, 64% of States fall into that category. Despite the claim the the Republican party represents "Conservatives", 92.3% of Red States are Welfare States. I'd like to see the "Conservative" movement put its money where its mouth is, instead of picking my pocked.

As to your cousins well-educated inability to make an argument, I'll answer on her behalf with a suggestion my father made decades ago.

Provide the basic services your cousin says are human rights, up to and not beyond the SUBSISTENCE level. The incentive to get out of bed would be to acquire a decent home, cars, computers and internet access, iphones, entertainment and all the endless things that those of us who are more fortunate take for granted.

I don't mind paying my share of taxes and even a little more than my share, as I am fortunate due to hard work and opportunity. Where do you live? Am I paying your share of taxes too?

Posted by: eebsnallof | September 23, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

In Cohen’s enfeebled mind, we are all Obama now.

Posted by: edlharris | September 23, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

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