First up, Young Artists Out of Love:
The Rise of the Drone Master: Pop Culture Recasts Obama
WASHINGTON — In Marvel’s latest popcorn thriller, Captain America battles Hydra, a malevolent organization that has infiltrated the highest levels of the United States government. There are missile attacks, screeching car chases, enormous explosions, evil assassins, data-mining supercomputers and giant killer drones ready to obliterate millions of people.
President Obama, the optimistic candidate of hope and change.
Five and a half years into his presidency, Mr. Obama has had a powerful impact on the nation’s popular culture. But what many screenwriters, novelists and visual artists have seized on is not an inspirational story of the first black president. Instead they have found more compelling story lines in the bleaker, morally fraught parts of Mr. Obama’s legacy.
Obama as Captain Un-America? Ouch.
Perpetual front-runner Maureen Dowd, being young hip and artistic, joins in:
Is Barry Whiffing?
WASHINGTON — Stop whining, Mr. President.
And stop whiffing.
Don’t whinge off the record with columnists and definitely don’t do it at a press conference with another world leader. It is disorienting to everybody, here at home and around the world.
I empathize with you about being thin-skinned. When you hate being criticized, it’s hard to take a giant steaming plate of “you stink” every day, coming from all sides. But you convey the sense that any difference on substance is lèse-majesté.
You simply proclaim what you believe as though you know it to be absolutely true, hoping we recognize the truth of it, and, if we don’t, then we’ve disappointed you again.
I also appreciate the fact that it’s harder for you than it was for J.F.K., W. and all those other pols who had their rich daddies and their rich daddies’ rich friends to buy anything they needed and connect them up and smooth the way for them. That gives them a certain nonchalance in the face of opprobrium and difficulty, a luxury that those who propel themselves to the top on their own don’t have.
Hmm, JFk and 'W'? What about Wild Bill Clinton of the, well, Hope Clintons? There is a Dem icon with no useful family ties. Pressing on, she riffs on Obama's "Take me out of this ballgame" metaphor:
An American president should never say, as you did Monday in Manila when you got frustrated in a press conference with the Philippine president: “You hit singles; you hit doubles. Every once in a while, we may be able to hit a home run.”
Especially now that we have this scary World War III vibe with the Russians, we expect the president, especially one who ran as Babe Ruth, to hit home runs.
She deserves minor props for realizing that the Babe was a lefty just like Obama. Of course, the Babe was also a record-setting pitcher...
Instead of the Babe Ms. Dowd should have gone with the Yankee Clipper just so she could work in a Mrs. Robinson reference about confused and alienated youth (and angry elders!). Or she could head in the direction of Mr. Coffee and exhort Obama to give up the decaf in favor of the strong stuff. Hey, I don't normally offer these Pro Tips for free.
And to be fair, this point is excellent:
The Times’s Mark Landler, who traveled with the president on his Asia trip, reported that Obama will try to regain the offensive, including a graduation address at West Point putting his foreign policy in context.
Mr. President, don’t you know that we’re speeched out? It’s not what we need right now.
Drone Master indeed.
The third leg of the NY Times stool is this laugher explaining how the head of the Executive Branch is going to focus on, how shall we say it, executing:
As His Tenure Winds Down, Obama Turns Focus to Executive Branch
For the remainder of President Obama’s term, what matters most to his success is what Washington watches least: competent governmental management.
Although the part of his presidency that involves getting major new laws through Congress has wound down, the part that involves effectively running the vast federal apparatus to carry out his priorities still has nearly three years to go.
Three long years. And yes, they mention the obvious:
In one way, the situation is liberating for Mr. Obama because, in basketball terms, it puts the ball in his hands at the end of the game. But it is also perilous. From starting health care exchanges to overseeing the National Security Agency to executing his Syria policy, the diffident chief executive and his team have repeatedly thrown the ball out of bounds.
This sort of heresy would have been unimaginable not that long ago. Say, October 2012.