Anytime Esquire writes extensively about politicians, it's going to be pretty icky, and this Tom Junod piece which compares Obama's governing style to "positive discipline" parenting (this makes us a bunch of bratty children) is pretty super-icky. (Esquire can never quite get it through its head that what politicians do, mostly, is order around mass murder, mass theft, and the spinning of resources and power to their buddies. They certainly aren't alone in missing this point, though. But they really, really, really miss it. Politicians to them are always noble guardians of the best in the American spirit or some such sententious bullshit.)
That all said, there's one really funny line in the piece spinning a comparative metaphor about jazz and modern liberalism that's also somewhat wise, and I say this as someone who does love jazz as much as I say, and does hate modern liberalism probably more than I can say:
Everybody's frustrated with Barack Obama. We like him, we're glad he's president, but we're frustrated with him. Sure, he's done a lot more than he's gotten credit for. Sure, he's basically governed as he said he was going to govern in The Audacity of Hope. He's even been audacious, especially if audacity can be measured by expenditure. But when does the "hope" part start? When does the Obama part start? It's as if we voted for Miles — that ease, that seething grace — and got Wynton instead, a careful custodian of a tradition that nobody likes as much as they say they do.
I've bitched about Esquire's tongue-bathing of the vice president before.