Rex Murphy at Globe and Mail has a superb analysis of the transformation un ther the title

The incredible shrinking Obama

and the narrative as a goal onto itself

most of the story of the campaign isn’t so much coming from the candidate himself as it is created by all those who, most in worshipful terms, have talked, written and reported on or about him. The Obama campaign is one great text generator, the grand fable of his fans.

but the author has the insight on Obama:

He has a quicksilver quality.

He himself has written, most memorably: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

And then noticed the change

Mr. Obama’s charisma is, in this sense, external, something extended to the candidate. And it follows that that which is given may equally be taken away. The sparkle has, in fact, dimmed

There’s more than a gap between the “audacity of hope” and “lipstick on a pig.” The mouth that spoke the first phrase should not be capable of the second.


A candidacy that leached so much of its energy and drive from the imagination of others, Gatsby-like, is shedding its gift. The narrative stage is over. It’s all tactics from here on in.

Surprisingly, someone from Obamaphiliac Slate agrees

Whether or not Obama’s sarcasm is successful, his reliance on it is just another indication of how this once-promisingly unconventional campaign has become thoroughly conventional.

Obama was going to stamp out cynicism. They were going to have joint town-hall appearances,

Hmmm – I wonder who nixed those? Oh, let’s wallow in generalities on “both”, shall we?

not question each other’s motives, and vacation together in the islands after it was all over. That’s all gone now. We’re back to the familiar.

A race that includes the first biracial presidential candidate and a moose-hunting female Alaskan vice-presidential candidate can never be considered typical. But give them time. Before this campaign is over, Obama and McCain will have talked so much about change, they will seem utterly conventional.

I recognize her the old “they all do it” device which the media used to apply when Republicans were in trouble. (Enron? Abramoff? they both took from them). Of course, now it’s used to protect Obama: he lost his luster? “both candidates are conventional now”.

Need to update this with a most excelent comment made at the Confluence by miqxu

β€œThe Incredible Shrinking Obama” is running as a double feature with β€œAttack of the 50-foot Alaskan Woman”