Obama: Calm, cool, and hated for it

Back on August 8, 2012,  I published a piece on Occasional Planet in which I pondered the intense hatred that President Barack Obama inspires in some quarters. After considering several possible sources of that antipathy, like many others I concluded that racial prejudice must be the primary motivator.

Today at the New Yorker blog, Philip Gourevitch analyzes the supreme equanimity of Obama’s early-morning victory speech after this week’s election and offers another theory about why some people hate Obama:

 … watching him come to the podium and hold it, some of the reasons for that hatred were discernible. Obama is, above all, calm, cool—not needy in any way, and that absence of neediness, that pervasive cool, which reads to even his admirers at times like a slight, ironic detachment from his own eloquence, must seem to his detractors like an infuriating arrogance and remoteness. John Kennedy, who had the same gift of detachment, was often accused, quite fairly, of the same type of self-absorption and indifference to others. He carried no cash in his coat. Still—hate him? How, exactly? Why, precisely? (Republicans, who once saw the impotence and indignity of Democrats hating Reagan, their own detached man, should know better.) But it’s inevitable. Everybody admires the guy who never breaks a sweat—except the guys running alongside him in the race, who would at least like to see him making an effort.

About Frank Kovarik:
Frank Kovarik teaches high school English in St. Louis, where he lives with his wife and three daughters. He blogs at Corresponding Fractions.