Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.1. It's silly to think that because Obama played the role of himself (playing Day-Lewis playing himself) that Obama is all about Lincoln. It made Obama look like he's about Obama, and putting Obama on the same level as Lincoln, with the mock-historical grandeur and the direction by Steven Spielberg, seems likely only to inflate Obama's egocentrism.
He still thinks he’ll do his thing from the balcony and everyone else will follow along below. That’s not how it works.
How can the president star in a White House Correspondents’ Association dinner satirical film pretending to be Daniel Day-Lewis playing Barack Obama in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Obama,” and not have absorbed the lessons of “Lincoln”?
2. Why would this Hollywood-in-Washington adoration make him deferential to some other historical figure, one who had to accomplish great things to achieve his high place in history? Quite the opposite! It should make Obama feel that it's always been enough for him simply to be Obama, the screen onto which a nation projects its hopes and dreams. Why should Obama "absorb lessons" from the movie about "Lincoln"? Obama created his own mode of arriving at greatness, and it's not much like Lincoln's at all.
3. A "community organizer" doesn't really "organize" a community, but even if one does, Congress isn't like the communities Obama supposedly organized. The idea that Obama could "organize" Congress is silly. Congress has its own organization, and it's full of powerful individuals who are currently actively pursuing political goals, not a bunch of citizens going about their private lives who might be induced to back some political project run by somebody else.
4. Yesterday's performance at the press conference was — I would presume — theater. It was the Theater of the Ineffectual President. It was not the Theater of the Lame Duck. (Dowd's piece is titled "Bottoms Up, Lame Duck." The "Bottoms Up" refers to her suggestion that Obama "have a drink with Mitch McConnell.") Obama likes to say he'll never face another election, but he's facing the 2014 elections. His performance yesterday was — I presume — a scene in the script for winning the midterms. I can't accomplish anything without Congress. Congress is the problem. He needs his Congress. Will we not give this beautiful man — upon whom we've projected our hopes and dreams — the Congress that will bring his presidency to a successful end? He is the central character in this movie "Obama" that we've all got to sit through. If we stay in character as members of the audience — passively taking in whatever we see on the screen — we'll merge our desires with the main character in the big spectacle. Identification with the protagonist. In the scene that ran yesterday, we saw our protagonist suffering his doubts and his weaknesses. He is beset with adversaries. Oh, no!
5. So, now we can see that Obama is doing his "job," as described by Maureen Dowd: "to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do." Somehow. I'm telling you how I think he's going about getting Congress — Congress 2015 — to do the stuff he wants them to do. Keep sitting on your bottom as he leads from behind. Or: Bottoms up! And I don't mean drinking. I mean, get your ass out of your theater seat and stop watching the "Obama" movie. The lameness is not in our President but in ourselves.