Barack Obama and Rolling Stone Magazine


This week Rolling Stone Magazine issued its 1115th issue with the President of the United States featured on its cover. It is the third time Barack Obama has appeared as the magazine’s cover story. The two previous appearances occurred before he became president. This is the first time during his presidency that he has given Rolling Stone an extended, exclusive interview.

Rolling Stone has been hoisted into the pantheon of influential American periodicals in recent months after its report on Afghanistan U.S commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal in May revealed the general to be contemptuous of his civilian commanders and impatient with their procrastination. The story ultimately led to the general’s dismissal. Parading around McChyrstal’s scalp has given Rolling Stone a certain cache among serious magazines that it otherwise does not deserve.

You have to wonder what Barack Obama has to gain by appearing in the magazine. Rolling Stone,from its counter culture heyday in the 1970s, has deteriorated in the past decade into a third rate gossip sheet that trafficks in soft porn, hate mongering and verging, in its indefatigable attacks on Wall Street and big finance, on antisemitism. There is nothing like balance nor objectivity in the magazine and it stands out as a model of the yellow journalism that spits at any position that opposes the progressive agenda.

Suffice to say, no conservative president of modern times – not George W. Bush, nor his father, nor Ronald Reagan, were ever given the same exposure or opportunity.

Based on the affection Obama expresses for the magazine, one has to wonder about the company he and his wife keep. In the very issue in which Obama is interviewed, there appears a homoerotic ad for the new Marc Jacobs fragrance BANG, which offers Mr. Jacobs himself naked, save for a small mirror covering his private parts. A spread on its annual “Hot List”, features the five male members of the performance troupe Jackass, naked and groping one another in a photo montage and reporting on their cinematic antics, which include urinating on an audience and being catapulted through the air in a porta-potty. Its tired political commentary from the vicious Matt Taibbi, who is relentlessly anti-just-about-everything, makes absurd, sweeping generalizations about the Tea Party movement, based on conversations with only a handful of its adherents, contradicting Obama’s own earlier more nuanced understanding of its general philosophy.

The interview with Obama itself is nothing more than a plea by Obama to progressives to return to the hustings and battle for the continued advancement of his agenda. That he senses he is losing even these redoubtable followers is evidence of a certain desperation. If Obama’s own core constituency, he must be reasoning, is shrugging its shoulders about his fate, he may well be standing beneath an avalanche which will bury his agenda and ultimately his presidency. That is why Obama pointedly, in his last statement, demands that Democrats and progressives stand shoulder to shoulder with him in the upcoming mid-term elections. To lose this base, is, in his rather short term thinking, to lose control of the presidency.

” It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive to stand on the sidelines in the mid-tern elections…. Right now we have a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George W. Bush … versus an administration that has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.”

It is difficult to think of a more picaresque revelation. Here not only is Obama conflating the progressive agenda (which no doubt embraces the Rolling Stone nihilist credo) with the general Democratic agenda, but also reveals that he is no longer the centrist president of all Americans he pronounced himself to me on election night in November, 2008. He is now a self-proclaimed progressive.

What a disastrous admission. With the anti-progressive Tea Party movement rapidly escalating into a political hurricane, an anti-incumbent attitude sweeping across the land and the Republicans licking their lips at the meal they are going to make of Democrats in November, there would appear to be nothing more asinine than painting your face such a vibrant shade of red. Obama should already have realized that his presidency will only be saved by a genuine move towards the center, at least appearing to recognize the demands of independents and Tea Party activists who will increasingly have exert a tremendous influence on political discourse in this country for at least the next two election cycles.

To save his presidency, Barack Obama must abandon the progressives and their nihilistic agenda. This might mean no further Rolling Stone feature interviews. But it is a relatively small price to pay for ensuring against the prospect of historical irrelevance.

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