No contemporary American politician has benefited more from the power of good storytelling than Barack Obama. He vaulted from obscurity to the presidency on the power of narrative — invoking his biography and personal values to make a larger point about how he would lead the nation.
So presumably no one understands more vividly than Obama and his close aides just how toxic and potentially paralyzing his situation has become this spring, as four distinct ethical and policy controversies have simultaneously converged.
Obama's critics now have a narrative — a way of connecting four discrete episodes to a larger point about this president's leadership style and values. In other words, they didn't merely happen on his watch but were in important ways caused by his watch.
And for the first time, this anti-Obama storyline is being presented in a way that might seem reasonable to people who are not already rabid anti-Obama partisans.