Despite one of the most anemic resumes for a presidential candidate, Obama first dispatched the formidable Hillary Clinton, and then the vastly more experienced, and arguably equally more qualified John McCain, to ascend to the position of leader of the free world. This in itself was a remarkable feat, but presidential elections do not always follow the rules of logic, and are, in the end, a popularity contest. What was perhaps something unseen since the days of George Washington, was the near deification and messianic fervor devoted to this newly elected president. People literally swooned at his rallies, seasoned politicos with man-crushes spoke of chills going up their legs and the like. A walk through the local mall revealed gift shops merchandising expensive plaques and portraits of Barack in messianic poses accompanied by messianic scriptures and sayings, rainbows and unicorns.
The queen in the story of Snow White possessed a magic mirror, which when questioned could only speak the truth. The queen was so proud and haughty that the question she asked most was: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?". The answer the mirror would repeatedly give was "Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all!". Sycophants will always flatter but the ultimate mirror for a political candidate is his or her constituents. In November of 2008 Barack Obama asked that mirror who was the fairest of them all, and the mirror answered "Thou, Obama, art fairest of them all!"
Beauty fades for queens and for presidents, and there comes a day when that mirror which can only tell the truth will answer that the fairest of them all is now someone else. That day occurred this past week for President Obama. It began with the recall elections in Wisconsin, the results of which can not reasonably be interpreted as anything but a repudiation of many of the political positions Obama endorses. It continued with the shocking revelation that despite the President's overdrive endeavors in fundraising, Mitt Romney had outperformed him by 16 million in the month of May. The superfluous exclamation mark at the end of the mirror's truth telling will occur with the almost certain Supreme Court rejection of the individual mandate eviscerating the Affordable Care Act.
I know that to equate Mitt Romney with Snow White is a bit of a stretch, but this is, after all, not a fairy tale. Maybe that's the point. Obama was the fairy tale president; rainbows and unicorns, but fairy tales aren't real! Now that reality has revealed itself, the mirror of the electorate is beginning to answer with the truth. Is Mitt Romney then "the fairest of them all"? Not hardly! If he were a stronger candidate, say a Ronald Reagan, this election would already be a landslide. But maybe he doesn't have to be "the fairest of them all". It is possible that we have now learned that a President is not the Messiah, and perhaps our expectations and requirements for the next leader will be based more in reality. No messiah is inevitably better than a false one.