Thursday, January 21, 2010

Obama's Biggest Failure

Junot Diaz, author of the beautifully minimalist short story collection,
Drown, and the buoyantly baroque novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, writes in The New Yorker this week that Obama's biggest failure thus far has been as storyteller. I tend to agree. Nobody expected Obama to solve the ingrained problems of America in a single year. The challenges we faced, and continue to face, are far too severe. But we did expect him to continue that which he did so well during his historic presidential campaign: to make sense of the mess that is our American experiment: to provide coherence and clarity in the midst of a crisis. This, as Diaz maintains, is the work of poets, not policy wonks. One used to think Obama encompassed both; a year into his presidency, one begins have second thoughts.

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