Ask, and Barack Obama will certify he’s history’s sagest statesman, not merely a master of law and politics, but a science arbiter, theologian, military strategist, historian, basketball specialist, and brewer. So mundane, in fact, does his immense intellect find Oval Office pressures that he recently speculated that the presidency is no more rigorous than the demands on a big-city mayor. Fiorello Obama, he must fancy himself, a tenacious plug-of-a-man barking orders to clear snow from the streets and unclog the sewers, mow the grass in parks and especially golf courses, keep those garbage trucks rolling.
But, judging by six years’ performance, time’s arrived for Obama to abandon delusion: he is no La Guardia. No, but he accurately parodies Mayor Shinn, chief executive of Meredith Wilson’s fictional River City, Iowa. Like Obama, Shinn is a bumbling and indecisive character, one poised at every moment to grab his lapels and launch into hollow oration, a man oblivious to being flummoxed at every juncture by fast-talking Professor Harold Hill. With the White House keys jangling in Mayor Shinn’s pocket two more years, Americans might want to follow the lead of The Music Man ensemble and take to the streets belting out, “Oh we got trouble, right here in River City …”
Trouble, indeed, with a capital T that rhymes with B that stands for Barack.