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February 12, 2009

Infantilizing Obama

Obama-Baby-Mother-Jones.jpg

Oh, baby.

In a far cry from any honeymoon, it seems Washington has been testing Obama from minute one (including the broader Democratic and Republican left and right; the blogosphere; Pelosi and Reid; the Congressional GOP; and particularly the press — in leaning on Obama to submit to questions in his informal first visit to the WH press room, for example, or to explain, in his first question in his first press conference, whether he wasn’t going overboard in his warnings about the financial crisis.)

One form of that testing — beautifully exemplified by the expression of infantilization above — has been to subtlety question if Obama is too young or inexperienced for the job. (I could see how various people — a Maureen Dowd immediately comes to mind — would have already been planting seeds of doubt by referring to the new president as a boy if his race didn’t completely negate going there.)

Besides the obvious analogy in the drawing — MJ appropriating the News Years imagery to put Obama in a diaper — we see Obama looking back as if second-guessing himself, not knowing what to do, and/or wondering how he got himself into this.

That pole might have a more phallic interpretation also — like our baby’s got a lot to balance there, but more than he knows what to do with.

(edited: 2:14 pm.)

(illustration: Dale Stephanos with a hat tip to The Saturday Evening Post)

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