Investors will give their CEO geniuses a lot of rope as long as they think there’s a trillion dollars on the other end. They will engage in complex rationalizations to explain why they’re throwing money at a guy whose ideas never seem to pan out and whose one big idea is approaching its sell-by date. And then the moment comes, a perspective shift hits and the genius is the guy who burned through billions of their dollars and is still promising them Pi in the sky while the future has moved on.
Obama is no longer the future. He can’t be. Not on his second term. The smart money is no longer on books explaining why he succeeds, but books explaining what went wrong. The old genius has to make way for the next genius who will make the same exact mistakes, but offer a little more variety.
The game could have gone on a little longer, if only Obama hadn’t made the mistake of actually assuming that he could deliver, if he hadn’t been so taken by the applause of the crowd and the outcome of the rigged matches, that he actually tried to wrestle one of the slabs of muscle for real.
Modern genius is an intangible thing. It isn’t the brilliant poem or the moving sonata. It’s the idea of genius. The distilled abstraction of change. The shiny flash of the magician’s powder. A change in appearance that startles and excites. Vague promises of an amazing future soon to come. That is true of our politics and our dot com economics.
The future arrived some time ago. We are living now in the post-future of the present where everything is momentarily amazing, but nothing endures, where last week’s blockbuster is already forgotten and last year’s genius is sheepishly fondling his framed magazine covers and the hit songs never go away, until they’re gone, and then they’re gone for good.
Obama is an empty construct of what the future was supposed to be; young charismatic, post-racial, post-partisan and solution-oriented. Now he’s already becoming old and outdated, a future that was, a future that might have been, a poster on an aging Occupier’s wall, a fading magazine cover, another progressive dead end for a movement always dreaming of a tomorrow that never comes.