Over at Newsweek, Evan Thomas, in a piece titled “The Perils of Punditry,” is unhappy because he thinks he’s being treated unfairly. According to Thomas, “Appearing on Hardball With Chris Matthews on June 5, I compared President Obama with God. Or at least that’s how it seemed to some bloggers [I was the one quoted by Thomas; my original post is here] and talk-show hosts [Rush Limbaugh], who made me a poster child for the argument that the liberal press is hopelessly in love with Obama.”
Maybe the reason it “seemed” Thomas was comparing Obama to God is because, well, he did exactly that. Thomas, in speaking to Matthews about Obama’s speech in Cairo, said, “In a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above-above the world, a sort of god.”
Ah, but Thomas avers, “I was not being literal.” To which one might ask: Does it help Thomas’s case a great deal if he was being figurative? I would add that if you listen to Thomas throughout the interview, he was definitely being worshipful.
Thomas then writes, “I could complain about being ‘taken out of context’ this time, but I scoff when politicians do that.” So Thomas is complaining about being taken out of context while at the same time trying to get credit for not doing so.
There’s a story in which William Simon, Treasury Secretary in the Nixon Administration, called the Shah of Iran a “nut.” Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was not happy and spoke to Simon, who told Kissinger that his comments had been taken “out of context.” To which Kissinger is reported to have said: “Mr. Secretary, in what context can you call the head of state of an American ally ‘a nut’?”
So I would ask: Mr. Thomas, in what context can you call Barack Obama a “sort of God”?