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China envy

Posted by Richard on March 11, 2011

It sounds like something from Iowahawk, or Scrappleface, or The Onion, but apparently it's true. President Obama has been whining* about how hard it is to be POTUS compared to president of China. Bill Kristol agrees with him that it really is much easier being president of China: 

If you’re president of China, people around the world who are fighting for freedom don’t really expect you to help. If you’re president of China, you don’t have to put up with annoying off-year congressional elections, and then negotiate your budget with a bunch of gun-and-religion-clinging congressmen and senators. If you’re president of China, you can fund your national public radio to your heart’s content. And if you’re president of China, when you host a conference on bullying in schools, people take you seriously.

Unfortunately for him and us, Barack Obama is president of the United States. That job brings with it certain special responsibilities. It’s a tough job—maybe tougher than being president of China. But Barack Obama ran for president of the United States. Maybe he should start behaving as one.

I think Obama's China envy runs deeper than the issues of workload and expectations. His job is harder than the president of China's because the US is politically and socio-economically very different from China, and I think deep down he resents that and wishes it weren't. 

Maybe we should propose a trade to the Chinese — Obama for Hu Jintao. Hu might find it difficult adjusting to a system with an independent legislature and judiciary, but at least he wouldn't try to cripple the nation's energy industries.

* OK, I suppose he wasn't literally whining. It's not in his nature to whine. The NYTimes said he "has told people," and I'm sure he told them in his typical professorial manner, as if he were educating them.

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2 Responses to “China envy”

  1. David Bryant said

    I actually clicked through to the [ Times’ article], where I was startled to read this line:

    ”Three months after a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself aflame and ignited a political firestorm across the Arab world, the president is trumping the trailblazer.”

    For one brief, glorious moment I felt real hope for change. How has he done this? Did he set himself on fire, or blow himself to smithereens somehow? Alas. I shortly learned that restraint trumps enthusiasm.

    Bridge must be a very boring game at [ Mark Landler’s] house.

  2. rgcombs said


    I suspect that in Mark’s world, whatever’s in Obama’s hand trumps whatever the other players are holding.

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