OK, We Can Make Our Reasoned Critiques of Obama's Governing Style and All ...

... but then he gets a chance to sing at the White House tonight, doing Sweet Home Chicago with Mick Jagger and also B.B. King?? Jeesh, talk about being the most powerful man in the world.

And about the chance to present himself as the coolest. As a gutsy vocal performance, this was not quite in the league with his a capella Al Green rendition at the Apollo last month. Among other things, the microphone wasn't working right early on. But still!



The guy does have a charm that is hard to imagine the Santorums or Romneys ever matching -- no, not even with Romney's earnest stylings of America the Beautiful. I know that there are different demographics being appealed to here: Jagger + BB King + Blues + Obama, versus America the Beautiful + Romney or Santorum. In today's America there is just more company on Obama's side of that divide, and even more who would like to think of themselves there.

One upshot of my current article is that in a second term, Obama might have a chance to become more the person we imagined the first time around. This is a start! (And for extra enjoyment check out the shots of White House chief of staff Jacob Lew bopping in the background. A real hep cat, for sure!)

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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