When we first met the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue it became a journalistic cliché to refer to the Obamas as the new Kennedys- an unfair label to put on any new political family.
It’s like calling around to the new next door neighbours, admiring what they’ve done to the place before pausing on the doorstep to exclaim with a winsome smile on your face - “You know, you remind me exactly of the family that used to live here. You know the one... Dad got his head blown off and the mother ended up with a sleazy Greek who never really loved her. Their surname became synonymous with tragic bad luck. God, who were they again? Anyway, welcome to the neighbourhood! ”
It can’t be reassuring for Barak, living in a country populated by a sizeable community of racists with grudges and guns to remind so many people of the man whose assassination was a defining moment of the last century. He wouldn’t be blamed for wishing to be compared to one of the non murdered by a lone gun-manny presidents. Although, if he was a fan of the Oliver Stone film he’s probably working on some major, major CIA funding cuts as I type. “What’s that Barak? The CIA’s new budget stretches to just one gun we have to clock in and out and share? And you’ve put Kevin Costner in charge. WTF?” It must be frustrating for Barak as, apart from his youth, good lucks and oratory skills, he hasn’t that much politically in common with JFK. In fact his attempts to unite a deeply divided America have much more in common with Abraham Lincoln.
Who was also assassinated. Right better forget that one too...
It isn’t very flattering to Michelle either. Yes, she rocks a shift dress and looks great in pearls but unlike her breathy, baby-voiced predecessor, the Princeton graduate is unlikely to ever have to depend on cheating spoilt heirs to keep her in American designer one offs. Rather than sigh and start mixing an extra strong martini at the news of her husband’s latest indiscretions, she’s more likely to sue and take everything belonging to him. If Barak ever cheated on Michelle with some modern Marilyn, the world would be so universally disappointed in him we’d give her the presidency as part of the divorce deal. Every State of the Union address would end with Congress officially stating for the record that the new president was better off without him. The comparison is also not very encouraging to little Sasha and Malia. If they really are the next Kennedys, who gets to be Caroline and who draws the unlucky John John straw and ends up spiralling to her death in an out of control aeroplane next to a coke addict they’re in a loveless marriage to? More importantly which unfortunate cousin ends up with a Schwarzenegger?
Barak may wish he had his own Rat pack and possible mob connections at the moment. He’s experiencing receding ratings due to his reluctance to outline his exact plans in Afghanistan and the unpopular healthcare bill he is marginally managing to drag through Congress. To keep approval ratings up he seems to be increasingly relying on Michelle’s steady popularity. The First Lady has appeared on the front cover of countless magazines, guested on reality programmes and even popped up on Sesame Street. They recently gave a joint interview in which the revealed how the presidency had affected their marriage and how they struggled to have some “them” time. Barak complained about recent criticism for using the air force one jet to take his wife on a date and Michelle remarked that their marriage was constant hard work. We found out that Michelle turned him down several times before they got together, that White House staff often walk in on them mid embrace and that Michelle livens up boring Official meet and greets by whispering unprintable comments about visiting dignitaries in her husband’s ear.
Now, we may feel like we can’t get enough of the golden couple at the moment but we also feel like that about Jedward who, in our heart of hearts, we know in six months time we’ll view with all the affection of a pool of unmapped vomit the morning after the night before. I’m worried it’ll soon become a case of too much information. I just don’t want to know this much about the ins and out of their relationship and when I do catch a glimpse into their private world, like those swoonsome pictures of the Inauguration Ball, I want to tingle with the unexpected intimacy of such a glamorous moment not jadedly note that they’re at it again.
I like our Obama crush; it’s a natural reaction to the current cynicism specifically after the gloom of the Bush/ Blair years. We need idols to love, larger than life people to root for and aspire too. Just as the Kennedy’s seemed to offer glamour and style in a country wracked by racial tension and the threat of nuclear war, the Obamas offer integrity and idealism in a political world corroded by corruption and arrogant warmongering. One joint interview too many and they’ll turn from the gorgeous new neighbours you wanted to hang out with to the ones that you dread bumping into because you’ve heard them having very loud smug sex every night for the last week.
Forget about being the next Kennedy’s they’re close to being the next Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey; the pop starlets who allowed a MTV TV crew to document every moment of their fledgling marriage and then wondered why it combusted like the Challenger disaster four years later. So maybe Obamas, ask not what the country can know about you but what you can keep mysterious from the country and whenever you feel the need to spill the beans look to the patron saint of too much information; Bill Clinton and reconsider.