All the above scandals and embarrassments would have ruined a Bush, given that such mishaps would have been headlined daily in the New York Times (e.g., “VA, Benghazi, AP, NSA, IRS overwhelm sinking Bush administration”) or Washington Post (“Bush Cabinet Paralyzed by Scandal”).
For the media, Obama is not Jimmy Carter or even Bill Clinton whom they overwhelmingly supported. He is quite different — the first gold-plated liberal president since FDR, and probably the last for a while, intent on fundamentally transforming the United States, by redistributing income and accumulated wealth, and recalibrating the American profile abroad.
The media believes that both are socially just and long overdue. Why then nitpick a president on details, when his intentions are noble? Extraordinary ends sometimes require tawdry means. Note here: when Obama leaves office, and should he be replaced by a Republican president, then we will see a press playing catch-up, intent on restoring its shattered image by exposing cabinet members who violate the Hatch Act and the insidious revolving door between Wall Street/ banking and White House billets. But for now, the media is invested in seeing Obama as a once-in-a-lifetime emissary of its own politics.
3) The well-off are indifferent to the Obama record, interested only in its symbolic resonance. Doctrinaire liberalism resonates mostly with the very wealthy. We see that by the voting patterns of our bluest counties, or the contributions of the very affluent. In contrast, Republicanism is mostly embedded within the middle class and upper middle class, while liberalism is a coalition of the affluent and the poor.
The result is that the Kerrys, Gores, and Pelosis are dittoed by millions of the affluent in Malibu, Silicon Valley, the Upper West Side, the university towns, Chicago, academia, the arts, highest finance, corporate America, foundations, the media, etc. Their income and accumulated wealth exempt them from worries about economic slowdowns, too much regulation, higher taxes, or the price of gas, electricity, or food. That under Obama gasoline has gone from $1.80 a gallon to $4.10 is as irrelevant as it is relevant that he has so far not built the Keystone Pipeline. That the price of meat has skyrocketed or that power bills are way up means little if global warming is at last addressed by more government.
For the liberal grandee, there is a margin of safety to ensure that the California legislature takes up questions like prohibiting the sale of Confederate insignia or ensuring restrooms for the transgendered or shutting down irrigated acreage to please the delta smelt. In their view, Obama represents their utopian dreams where an anointed technocracy, exempt from the messy ramifications of its own ideology, directs from on high a socially just society — diverse, green, non-judgmental, neutral abroad, tribal at home — in which an equality of result is ensured, albeit with proper exemptions for the better educated and more sophisticated, whose perks are necessary to give them proper downtime for their exhausting work on our behalf.