The Super Weakness

Every super hero has a super weakness to complement their super powers. I’m talking Kryptonite here. Green Lantern wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if he and his energy creations weren’t vulnerable to yellow-phased photons and he wasn’t in love with super-villainess Star Sapphire. Wolverine needs to studiously avoid magnets. Spiderman and Spectracide are not a good mix. And Batman — the dude is just plain messed up in the head, and up until the 80’s he was closeted with a thing for the much younger men, too. Get Aquaman out of the water for an hour or so and he becomes weak and tired and could die. So you see, while they may seem possessed of great powers, they are also vulnerable, each in their own way.

But you’re asking, “Yes, super heroes are indeed very cool. But what does this have to do with the election?” Well, Barack Obama has seemed an invulnerable super hero for a long time. He has Super Charisma, no doubt about that! What’s more, everyone likes him, including right-wing conservatives. That means he has Super Bipartisan Appeal. He gives Super Emotional Motivational Speeches and has Super Chameleon abilities for his policy platforms. (Yes, I know he has a website but seems to me that the chances that he wrote more than twenty words of it himself are slim indeed.) Against archrival Hillary Clinton, he’s used his Super Fundraising powers — powers which he may yet be tricked into forsaking. And thanks to a confluence of lucky events, he appears to have the ability of Super Press Message Alignment too, or at least he’s achieved that result.

So I’ve been wondering what his super weakness is. I thought it would turn out to be skeletons in his closet from his early political days, when he was running with a bad crowd. But Rick Moran seems to have put his finger on it by noting that Obama isn’t all that good with hardball questions in press conferences. Consequently, he’s limited the amount of unstructured time he has available to the press corps — particularly to investigative journalists covering things like political corruption (dovetailing with my idea but not really the same thing). Mostly he’s got campaign reporters around him and he generally sticks to the “embedded” members of the press corps assigned to his campaign. How ironic! But the ironic nature of a Super Vulnerability is one of the elements of a truly interesting Super Hero, after all.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.