The Unbearable Lightness of Being Obama

Tony Fratto
November 14, 2009
As published for The Roosevelt Room:

“[T]he absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.”Milan Kundera.

As someone who in the Bush Administration traveled to Hanoi, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul more often than Chicago, Los Angeles or Seattle, was I surprised to hear President Obama proclaim that an era of disengagement with Asia was over?

No, not really.

This is a president absolutely unburdened by what came before. “Being Obama” means to fly high and lightly above the evidence of the past.

“Being Obama”, for the purposes of this White House, is more than sufficient — it is all.

On his inaugural visit to Asia, President Obama announced a “new” orientation toward Asia, leaving an impression that prior White House maps merely employed pictures of sea monsters to depict the strange lands beyond the Hawaiian Islands.

If you were looking for a new initiative, a new program, some new evidence breaking with the past to mark the end of the old era, you would be disappointed. Understand that “Being Obama” is the difference.

Read the complete article here.

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