Patterico's Pontifications


TIME Person of the Year: Barack Obama

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:49 am

How come this rag can’t go the way of NEWSWEEK and disappear from the shelves?

America debated and decided this year: history would not record Obama’s presidency as a fluke.

So after his staff arrived, he left his family in the main room of the suite and stepped out to talk with his three top advisers, Axelrod, political strategist David Plouffe and Jim Messina, his campaign manager. He wanted to tell them what this victory meant, because it was very different the second time. “This one’s more satisfying than ’08,” he said. “It wasn’t just about what I was going to do as President. It’s what I’ve done.”

Ballooned the debt and kept unemployment high, to mention just two notable accomplishments.

Come on, Barry. Have a smoke. You’ve earned it.


  1. Ding.

    Comment by Patterico (8b3905) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:50 am

  2. this is just part of the media’s campaign to demoralize Republicans

    apparently they don’t think Boehner’s getting the job done

    Comment by happyfeet (a26c38) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:55 am

  3. He was also named Time’s Person of the Year in 2008.

    Comment by aunursa (7014a8) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:01 am

  4. Sandra Fluck got robbed.

    Comment by JD (5abe0d) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:02 am

  5. Fatuous twaddle. Next he’ll get the Nobel Peace Prize again …

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:09 am

  6. Being good at running for office trumps being good at dispatching the duties of that office.

    Or, as we have long known, liberals get credited for their (alleged) good intentions, no matter how crummy their actual policies turn out.

    Comment by JVW (4826a9) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:10 am

  7. He who laughs last laughs best.
    At some point when reason holds sway, even if only on the other side of eternity, President Obama’s actions will be truly recognized.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:11 am

  8. It appears that in severel years, winning a presidential election is considered a sufficient enough accomplishment to be named Time’s Person of the Year…

    2004: George W. Bush
    2000: George W. Bush
    1998: David Ho (AIDS researcher)
    1992 Bill Clinton (also named in 1998)
    1988: The Endangered Earth (Bush #41 named in 1990)
    1984: Peter Ueberoth
    1980: Ronald Reagan (also named in 1983)
    1976: Jimmy Carter
    1972: Richard Nixon (also named in 1971)
    1968: Apollo 8 astronauts
    1964: Lyndon B. Johnson (also named in 1967)
    1960: American scientists (JFK named in 1961)
    1956: The Hungarian freedom fighter (Ike named in 1959)
    1952: Queen Elizabeth II
    1948: Thomas E. Dewey Harry S. Truman
    1944: Dwight D. Eisenhower
    1940: Winston Churchill (F.D.R. named in 1932, 1934, and 1941)

    Comment by aunursa (7014a8) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:13 am

  9. Correction: David Ho was named in 1996.

    Comment by aunursa (7014a8) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:14 am

  10. In 1948, Dewey’s name is supposed to be crossed out.


    Comment by aunursa (7014a8) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:18 am

  11. I hope the cover photo will be an Alfred E. Neuman version of Obama.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:31 am

  12. ==At some point when reason holds sway, even if only on the other side of eternity, President Obama’s actions will be truly recognized.==

    You really are a glass half full kind of guy aren’t you MD in Philly?

    Comment by elissa (6f97fe) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:39 am

  13. Not a fluke, a fraud.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:45 am

  14. The Time Person of the Year is supposed to be “the person that most influenced our world this year – for good or for ill.” And regardless of what we think of Obama, he certainly had a lot of influence on the world this year.

    When people look back at the list of Time Persons of the Year decades from now — I should say if people look back on the list, because the list will be forgotten if Time ever ceases publishing — at least they’ll remember who Obama was, and they won’t count this year among the gimmicky choices like “The Computer” or “The Whistleblowers” or “You.”

    Comment by Joshua (9ede0e) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:47 am

  15. Joshua, actually Obama has had very little “influence” in our world this year. He’s attempted no leadership at all – name an international effort that he’s put himself in front of? Domestically, his “influence” has been to incompetently fail to actually negotiate any solutions to our Federal budgetary crisis.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:25 am

  16. Ah, but he’s apparently intent on disarming the public.

    On the other hand, he’s but Biden in charge of what the VP considers a panel to implement gnu control. Richard Stallman is apparently worried.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (e6f27f) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:31 am

  17. Judge Benedict Roberts would have been my choice.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:36 am

  18. Putting Biden in charge means that Obama is not serious at all IMO.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:42 am

  19. Barry Coetoro is a SCOAMF.

    Comment by redc1c4 (403dff) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:54 am

  20. “Soetoro”

    stupid fingers.

    Comment by redc1c4 (403dff) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:55 am

  21. At some point when reason holds sway, even if only on the other side of eternity, President Obama’s actions will be truly recognized.

    Yes, but as with Clinton it will be long after we have gone on to our eternal reward. There are way too many liberal apologists among journalists and historians who will Arthur Schlesinger-ize both men and make them seem heroic in nature. Two hundred years from now, should we make it that far, historians without personal axes to grind will develop a far more honest assessment of both men’s terms, and I think they will be found wanting.

    Comment by JVW (4826a9) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:00 am

  22. 2. I was trying to think of something sickly humorous to say but what’s the point, Feets would just come up with something better.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:03 am

  23. It’s all about the narrative.

    Three words I loathe;Nuance, Comprehensive and Narrative.

    Comment by Kevin P. (a6d18e) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:19 am

  24. To be fair, the cover makes him look less like Person of the Year and more like Harbinger of Death.

    Comment by SaveFarris (78d8fa) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:22 am

  25. His presidency is not a fluke. It’s the deliberate result of American knee-biting stupidity.

    Is it time to wake up Luke Wilson yet?

    Comment by CrustyB (69f730) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:25 am

  26. It is really disingenous of Obama to celebrate his 2012 re-election as a confirmation of “what he’s done.”

    He didn’t campaign on his first term record at all.
    Rather, he got people to vote against that rich guy.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (65d289) — 12/19/2012 @ 10:29 am

  27. How come this rag can’t go the way of NEWSWEEK and disappear from the shelves?

    It’s bigger. First went U.S. News and World Report, then Newsweek – TIME is in a more robust position.

    In “The End of Eternity” (1955) Isaac Asimov predicted that thee would be a time when TIME would stop publishing. (the magazine is not named, but it is clearly TIME, which used to be considered authoritative)

    “…Surely there =must be some particular sources you used in studying the 20th Century. Documents, archives, films, artifacts, reference works. I mean primary source, dating from the Time itself>”
    “And he studied them with you?”
    “And is there any particular reference that was your favorite, one he knew you were intimately acquainted with, so you would recognize in it some reference to himself?”
    “I see what you’re driving at, of course,” said Harlan. He grew thoughtful.
    “Well?” asked Twissell with an edge of impatience.
    Harlan said, “My news magazines, almost surely. News magazines were a phenomenon of the early 20′s. The one of which I have nearly a complete set dates from early in the 20th and continues well into the 22nd..”

    In the story, he had looked at bound periodicals. Asimov did not foresee things going digital, or computer access of course. It;s still not the same anywa.

    Now, by the way, we have a 4th weekly news magazine: “The Week” which is actually a revival of the Literary Digest (in it’s pre-1930s period)

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (f5a3af) — 12/19/2012 @ 11:21 am

  28. It’s true. The takers have decided to take. Not a fluke at all.

    Comment by Dustin (73fead) — 12/19/2012 @ 11:47 am

  29. “It wasn’t just about what I was going to do as President. It’s what I’ve done.”

    No actually it was about Romney being a really evil rich person and the rich people not paying their fair share.

    Comment by Gerald A (f26857) — 12/19/2012 @ 11:49 am

  30. and massive voter fraud, let’s not forget about that.

    Comment by redc1c4 (403dff) — 12/19/2012 @ 12:35 pm

  31. Was Chris Stevens even nominated?

    Comment by scrubone (e7e0ea) — 12/19/2012 @ 12:47 pm

  32. His presidency is not a fluke. It’s the deliberate result of American knee-biting stupidity.

    I do wonder how proud one could be, if one is elected by seeking votes from the most ignorant part of the electorate.

    Comment by scrubone (e7e0ea) — 12/19/2012 @ 1:04 pm

  33. “TIME Person of the Year: Barack Obama”

    TIME Man of the Year 1938: Adolf Hitler

    They’re not saying you’re the coolest guy of the year, just the most influential.

    Comment by Dave Surls (46b08c) — 12/19/2012 @ 1:12 pm

  34. You’re right, mg, Roberts is the guy who changed America the most this year.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 12/19/2012 @ 1:14 pm

  35. Imagine a world of interesting journalism where Time would have had an Obama skeptic write the accompanying piece to the Man of the Year issue. Instead of a “isn’t it remarkable that this man has rose all the way to being a two-term President” sort of take on it we could have had something more along the lines of “well, now that he has been reelected how is he going to get us out of this mess” type of article. But I suppose that Time is reduced to having to sell this issue as a keepsake for all the Obamabots out there who will hear nary a word of doubt about their man’s greatness. Next stop, Mount Rushmore.

    Comment by JVW (4826a9) — 12/19/2012 @ 2:00 pm

  36. TIME Man of the Year 1938: Adolf Hitler

    They’re not saying you’re the coolest guy of the year, just the most influential.

    The Progressives were very much in love with his policies and forceful manner of implementing them. It was only when he invaded the Soviet Union that they turned on him.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (e6f27f) — 12/19/2012 @ 2:01 pm

  37. The interesting thing, is they left out Mala Yousafsai, the brave Afghan woman, Tim Cook, Job’s successor, ‘Sultan’ Morsy and the discoverer of the Higgs Boson

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 12/19/2012 @ 2:05 pm

  38. Just a bit OT: Via Mish, Kyle Bass on Japan.

    Point being by year’s end 2013 the Manchurian’s plan comes to fruition.

    “A lot has happened in Japan in the last 12 months. In fact, in the last 2 months we believe Japan has crossed that proverbial Rubicon. We think that you’ve seen 20 years of conjecture regarding Japan’s eventual demise. And now we see a point where, in the last couple months what you see is a continued deterioration in their balance of trade. It’s actually running at about negative $100 billion or close to 10 trillion Yen. And we think given this resurgence of Chinese nationalism over the Senkaku crisis [disputed islands], you’re going to see that move another 1.5 to 2 percent or another $100 billion. Put that in perspective. What that means is we could see full current account negativity in Japan in October. That’s something nobody is ready for.

    Think about it. You have a secular decline in the population, you have a balance of trade that is literally being rewritten and falling off a cliff, and their GDP is now tracking negative 3.5 or 4 percent.

    So what has to happen in Japan. Now their backs are against the wall. They have a full crisis, and they absolutely have to change the manner in which they deal with their currency. And so we think over the last couple of months they have crossed the final Rubicon that turns the whole situation around and weakens the Yen from a currency perspective. Then you are going to start to see, we think, in the next 12-18 months a move in their rates.

    Basically Japan is entering its final checkmate phase of the game.”

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/19/2012 @ 2:52 pm

  39. On FX markets this week EU up hard and today JPY took a huge jump versus dollar, i.e., the reason US bonds are in the toilet.

    Everyone knows we are next. JEF guarantees it.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/19/2012 @ 2:59 pm

  40. Add revenue is down 2.5%. Illegals and food stamp recipients make for a poor advertising base. Maybe it can a special issue in Spanish with ads for the best places to sell EBT cards and to buy drugs and extra large sodas.

    Comment by pat (75b00c) — 12/19/2012 @ 2:59 pm

  41. 39. I believe that should read “Japanese yen took a huge dive”.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:17 pm

  42. America debated and decided this year: history would not record Obama’s presidency as a fluke.

    I’m not the optimist Doc in Philly seems to be, but this is the height of silliness.

    The 2012 election is history’s verdict?

    I am certain history will render a harsh verdict, not only on the Prince of Fools who’s been elected to a second term but the fools who elected to give him a second bit at the apple. Despite the evidence; really in reckless disregard of the evidence as if to prove to themeselves they were right the first time around.

    I believe Marcus Tullius Cicero already rendered the verdict on the portion of the electorate who voted for Obama twice:

    Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.

    As did the Bible (Proverbs 26:11):

    As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.


    Comment by Steve57 (25fb74) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:22 pm

  43. As a form of tribute to Obama, I tried to start every paragraph in my previous comment with “I.” Since I couldn’t I threw in an extra “I” for good measure.

    Comment by Steve57 (25fb74) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:23 pm

  44. That they cannot see that this is racism of low expectations is one of Liberals biggest blind spots.

    They think they’re doing good by making so much ado over a mediocre ideologue who’s fundamental ideas have been proven dangerous if not fatal for the majority of people who have attempted to bring them to reality. Even the existing original communists don’t believe in that tired out twaddle anymore. (well maybe the Norks but then they’re hallucinating from starvation anyway. And their new leader looks like he’s the cause.)

    Just flip this; if he wasn’t Black, would he gotten this cover? As with his Nobel; has he done anything to deserve this? Other than be born of course.

    In twenty years we’ll be hearing about how his mother gave birth to him in a barn somewhere.

    Comment by Jcw46 (eda37d) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:38 pm

  45. Pat.

    How true. Hispanics don’t buy newspapers or magazines much. Not even El Diario and other Hispanic papers.

    Partly it’s that so many are functional illiterates. I’ve worked with many and most have limited vocabularies IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE and limited knowledge of grammar and History.

    There’s a reason why they couldn’t find work in their own country.

    Comment by Jcw46 (eda37d) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:42 pm

  46. Patricia- Roberts influenced the vote and fell short of doing his job. He should be remembered as the man who made death panels legal.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:47 pm

  47. 45. …Partly it’s that so many are functional illiterates. I’ve worked with many and most have limited vocabularies IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE and limited knowledge of grammar and History.

    There’s a reason why they couldn’t find work in their own country.

    Comment by Jcw46 (eda37d) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:42 pm

    Spanish isn’t their own language; a lot of illegal aliens coming across the border from Mexico (and other points south) speak indigenous languages as their mother tongue.

    It’s part of the great lie of groups like La Raza who act like the Gringos stole the American Southwest from the Spanish-speakers.

    If you want to frame it that way, when the gringos “stole” the land from the hated Mexicans a lot of the subjugated tribes breathed a sigh of relief. At least at first; I can’t say if later they judged their situation better, worse, or about the same.

    I will tell you this, though. When “Native Mexicans” (the south-of-the-border corollary to “Native American”) move in and start trashing the neighborhood the Spanish speaking Mexicans whose ancestors came earlier don’t like it all all.

    Comment by Steve57 (25fb74) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:54 pm

  48. Comment by Jcw46 (eda37d) — 12/19/2012 @ 3:42 pm

    There’s a reason why they couldn’t find work in their own country.

    Who says they couldn’t find work? (You’re saying here they don’t know Spanish. Maybe there is a subgroup like that but that’s hardly the majority)

    Irrational as this may appear to you, real wages are not the same in different countries.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 12/19/2012 @ 4:34 pm

  49. like I always say
    it’s a sign o’ the times
    Time waits for no one

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (f90c00) — 12/19/2012 @ 4:34 pm

  50. Penultimate issue of Newsweek, I think

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 12/19/2012 @ 4:40 pm

  51. Your Mayan News weather report:

    For Thursday, December 20, 2012… sunny skies and cooler temperatures, with a high of 63 degrees

    For Friday, December 21, 2012… volcanoes, heavy asteroid showers, Apocalypse…

    For Saturday, December 22, 2012… sunny skies return, with a slight breeze out of the Northwest…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (f90c00) — 12/19/2012 @ 4:41 pm

  52. I prefer comments without the naked bigotry.

    But maybe that’s just me?

    Comment by Pious Agnostic (20c167) — 12/19/2012 @ 4:46 pm

  53. TIME People of the Year 2012 – The 47% Who Pay No Federal Income Tax

    It’s all about the fairness!

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 12/19/2012 @ 5:11 pm

  54. I’m curious if anyone at TIME cringed when the big O trotted out the “bad storm Sandy and sad dead kids show Republicans should just capitulate and give me what I want” meme in his PC today. This is the statesmanship they’re honoring.

    The great orator, pontificatingly using a tragedy as leverage to score points — not even on topic! The gun control idiocy is mendacious and fallacious and awful, but at least it’s arguably somewhat on topic! — that he needs to get his way on the economy.

    (Although, in all honesty, does anyone really think if Romney won they wouldn’t pick him or Ryan or something? They do have a tendancy to just pick prez’s more often than not, including GW.

    Comment by rtrski (d3871a) — 12/19/2012 @ 6:43 pm

  55. Loser of the Year is no contest: math.

    ‘Results’ also works.

    Comment by East Bay Jay (a5dac7) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:08 pm

  56. I’d like to buy Jake Tapper a few beers. Good show today.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (f90c00) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:10 pm

  57. and fluke me runnin’, we’ve got another 4 years of this crap to weather…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (f90c00) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:12 pm

  58. I guess he’ll win another Nobel Peace Prize again too. It is only fitting given all the peace that is erupting all over the world…

    Comment by WarEagle82 (97b777) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:19 pm

  59. If this is an era when America truly jumped the shark — and caught a good dose of Euro-sclerosis, Mexico-itis and Argentina Syndrome — then the guy on Time’s cover is a fitting symbol. He therefore does deserve the title of “Man of the Year,” just as the topic of, for example, the advent of the dropping of the atom bomb in the 1940s or the collapse of 2 towers in New York in 2001 justifies a similar honor.

    Comment by Mark (94cc2f) — 12/19/2012 @ 7:27 pm

  60. 52. “naked bigotry”

    I surf in pants and a shirt, always.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/19/2012 @ 8:27 pm

  61. Some are saying that his skin color was darkened in the TIME cover photo.

    Comment by Icy (124c 41+) (e4ca1c) — 12/19/2012 @ 9:55 pm

  62. TIME: “America debated and decided this year: history would not record Obama’s presidency as a fluke.”

    – Pun intended? Hurricane Sandra got fluked on this one!

    Comment by Icy (124c 41+) (4971a6) — 12/20/2012 @ 6:03 am

  63. So . . . Robert Bork dies, Obama is named Person of the Year, and now the world is gonna end tomorrow?

    They’re called SIGNS of the Apocalypse for a reason, people!

    Comment by Icy (122112) (4971a6) — 12/20/2012 @ 6:07 am

  64. So, now Lurch is criticizing lame concussed duck Hillary “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up to testify” Clinton’s DOS. Of course, pre-election he was as quiet as a mouse on the night before Xmas.

    Comment by Icy (122112) (4971a6) — 12/20/2012 @ 6:17 am

  65. Boehner calls off vote on Plan B, no word on Tax Cut corollary.


    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/20/2012 @ 5:48 pm

  66. Cliff porn backfires:

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/21/2012 @ 7:22 am

  67. In case anyone was wondering, TIME’s Person of the Year took advantage of the occasion of Sen. Inouye’s funeral to deliver a speech almost entirely about himself. Events from Sen. Inouye’s life occasionally made cameo appearances to serve as backdrop to Obama’s tale of the remarkable journey of the mixed race kid from Hawaii to the White House.

    He referred to himself 63 times.

    We learned remarkable things about Obama’s life, such as the supposed fact that Inouye was elected to the Senate when he was two (as per usual Obama got the math wrong) and that he first became aware of Inouye while watching the Watergate hearings on a month-long trip to the continental US in which he reveled in the existence of motel swimming pools, ice, and vending machines.

    Even Slate magazine got fed up:

    Today We Are Gathered … To Hear More About Me

    President Obama was supposed to eulogize the memory of Sen. Daniel Inouye. Instead he told us about his favorite summer vacation.

    Someone needs to tell Barack Obama—it must get particularly confusing this time of year—that his own birth is not Year One, the date around which all other events are understood. His much-noted, self-referential tic was on cringe-worthy display Friday when the president gave his eulogy for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served in Congress for half a century representing Obama’s birth state of Hawaii.

    Obama likes to see events through the lens of his own life’s chronology. Thus we learn that Inouye was elected to the Senate when Obama was 2 years old. Now you could make this relevant by … But no, we simply learn that Inouye was Obama’s senator until he left the state to go to college—something apparently more momentous than anything Inouye did during his decades in office.

    …From Obama’s telling, the next significant event in Inouye’s life was greeting his new Senate colleague, Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama is Barack Obama’s Person of the Year every hour of every day. And he can’t shut up about it.

    Which may be a silver lining to his reelection if his second term hasn’t even started and even Slate is getting sick and tired of the Narcissist-in-Chief putting his high regard for himself on constant display.

    Comment by Steve57 (b64cdf) — 12/22/2012 @ 6:29 pm

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