Michael Lewis Learns ‘Obama’s Way’

Barack Obama plays basketball at Fort McNair 2009-05-29Michael “Moneyball” Lewis has penned a long, long profile of Barack Obama’s approach to being president of the United States after spending six months trailing him, for Vanity Fair:

…At nine o’clock one Saturday morning I made my way to the Diplomatic Reception Room, on the ground floor of the White House. I’d asked to play in the president’s regular basketball game, in part because I wondered how and why a 50-year-old still played a game designed for a 25-year-old body, in part because a good way to get to know someone is to do something with him. I hadn’t the slightest idea what kind of a game it was. The first hint came when a valet passed through bearing, as if they were sacred objects, a pair of slick red-white-and-blue Under Armour high-tops with the president’s number (44) on the side. Then came the president, looking like a boxer before a fight, in sweats and slightly incongruous black rubber shower shoes. As he climbed into the back of a black S.U.V., a worried expression crossed his face. “I forgot my mouth guard,” he said. Your mouth guard? I think. Why would you need a mouth guard?

“Hey, Doc,” he shouted to the van holding the medical staff that travels with him wherever he goes. “You got my mouth guard?” The doc had his mouth guard. Obama relaxed back in his seat and said casually that he didn’t want to get his teeth knocked out this time, “since we’re only 100 days away.” From the election, he meant, then he smiled and showed me which teeth, in some previous basketball game, had been knocked out. “Exactly what kind of game is this?” I asked, and he laughed and told me not to worry. He doesn’t. “What happens is, as I get older, the chances I’m going to play well go down. When I was 30 there was, like, a one-in-two chance. By the time I was 40 it was more like one in three or one in four.” He used to focus on personal achievement, but as he can no longer achieve so much personally, he’s switched to trying to figure out how to make his team win. In his decline he’s maintaining his relevance and sense of purpose.

Basketball hadn’t appeared on the president’s official schedule, and so we traveled the streets of Washington unofficially, almost normally…

[continues at Vanity Fair]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    with good reason the magazine is called Vanity Fair

    “Then I saw in my dream, that, when they were got out of the wilderness,
    they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity;
    and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long…

    Therefore at this fair are all such merchandise sold as
    houses, lands, trades, places, honors, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts,
    pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters,
    servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.

    And, moreover, at this fair there are at all times to be seen
    juggling, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind.

    Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders, adulteries, false swearers,
    and that of a blood-red color.”

    John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Chapter 6

    • Jin The Ninja

       also, who’d in their right mind would WANT “44” as their number!?

      • Hadrian999

        Harry Callahan

        • Jin The Ninja

          in chinese culture it means double death!

          • Calypso_1

            I think it meant something along those lines for Harry too.

          • Calypso_1

            I guess you could call him a baller of the .44 lead kind.

          • Jin The Ninja

            obviously b/c i am of the yellow variety i don’t think dirty hairy would like me very much T_T

          • Hadrian999

            dirty harry hates everyone, but i think he had an asian girlfriend in one of the movies

          • Jin The Ninja

            typical. i have a father in law like that too.

          • Gran Torino

            I think I saw a movie where he died just to send some Vietnamese kids to jail. Thats some real hardcore racism.

  • Hadrian999

    they have been talking about all week on NPR they made a big deal about how brave obama was to go against his advisers and and take steps to save Benghazi…..what a shrewd move lol

  • Sonnenritter

    total puff piece

  • http://wearechangeatlanta.com/ Camron Wiltshire

    ……nice puff piece.  He forgot to disclose the massive load of Afghani hopium he shot up before writing this little apologist hagiography.

  • Nunzio X

    I read the entire piece and saw nothing in there about Obama figuratively slurping the collective schlong of Wall Street; what DIDN’T get written speaks volumes.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      I gave up after the first page.  I’m not going to bother with page 2 of a 9-page piece that doesn’t even bother to dangle the promise of some worthwhile insight on page one.

      Seriously, who gives a sh*t what style of basketball that useless turd likes to play?

      I want that 3 minutes of my life back.

      • Hadrian999

        what did you expect from a screenwriter

        • Liam_McGonagle

          I personally would be too embarrassed to pad out 9 pages of utterly meaningless bullsh*t without even the hint of something worthwhile in it.

          But I suppose everyone’s got to eat.

          Jesus, what a horrible way to make a living.

          • Hadrian999

            it was always going to be fluff, he wouldn’t have received the access he did if he were going to do a serious story, the access came with strings, he had to let obama’s handlers vet the story before it was published

        • Rlewis

           Screenwriter? No, Lewis is an excellent non-fiction author. Because he wrote a piece about the president you silly cunts think you have to go into full attack mode.

          • Hadrian999

            lost his integrity when he hired on to do a pr piece and gave the target editing rights

          • Calypso_1

            Full attack mode?  Not even bloody close.

    • KicktheDragon

      When you live in a house thats been infested with termites for so long that the house is doomed, do you bother calling in an exterminator?  That is to say, when someone actually confronts the crimes Wall Street has committed, the rampant fraud and market rigging, the backroom deals, the falsified balance sheets, the inflated assets (is that inner-city house foreclosed on 4 years ago actually worth pre-crash market value, or is it a derelict slumbox destined for demolition?  How bout those other 100,000 houses?), it might crash the entire global economy.  Which sounds great, until you realize how terrible it really would be.

  • TedHeistman

    Wow, he’s just like us! He has hopes and dreams and worries too! Awwwwwwwwww….

  • Chedder Nuts

    I actually read the whole piece through. It doesn’t change my opinion of the man much, but it confirms my sneaking suspicion that he was slightly more human than an immortal communist robot from the 35th century sent here to spread chaos and birth control.