Obama and Angelina

The fairy tale of Barack Obama’s hope-and-change brand may not have crashed as quickly as the Dow plummeted a week ago, but as with the financial crisis, the warning signs have been there all along. “Too big to fail” is the catchphrase of the financial recession. The opposite is true of Obama. The media, the Democratic establishment, and his other supporters had done so much to artificially inflate Brand Obama that he never had a chance to live up to the hype, despite the best efforts of his supporters to keep his image polished. Obama’s brand was too big to succeed — the product was never going to taste as good as the slick advertisements had led everyone to believe.

When Obama hit the national scene, he was young, dynamic, and fresh. He moved through the paces during his short Senate career, visiting war zones with congressional delegations and asking seemingly intelligent questions at various hearings, but never sponsoring any notable legislation. (He did manage to net a million-dollar book deal before he entered the Senate, adding a second memoir to his canon.) During the 2008 primaries, he was praised for his speeches and proceeded to trounce veteran Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Voters chose Obama’s mystery over Hillary’s baggage. More important, perhaps, than his evolution from community organizer to president was his journey from man to brand, from unknown to celebrity.

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