Originally posted November 2017
I wish I could say David Litt’s “Thanks, Obama” is the perfect cure for a Trump hangover.
But it was certainly refreshing to read his memoir, if only for a chance to return to more hopeful times. And in all fairness, there’s nothing that cures a Trump hangover, at least until Election Day 2018. Or amnesia.
You can stop reading now if you’re not a fan of Obama. Then again, you probably didn’t even make it this far. So from here on out, I don’t feel the need to apologize or even pretend to be balanced. I still get teary-eyed when I hear Obama speak. Though now, it’s just because it’s a reminder of how good we had it.
To the uninformed, David Litt may be one of the wunderkind that took over government in 2009 — one of those pesky 20-somethings, equal parts arrogant and naive. What isn’t readily known is that Litt and his compatriots WORKED, often for no money, to get where they got. Probably not unlike a lot of liberal arts grads in the mid-2000s, Litt and others disenchanted with their options found themselves so inspired by then Sen. Obama’s message they were willing to give up everything to evangelize across the country, working to get the vote out. Working to make a difference.
And so the story begins.
Litt’s look into the machinations of the White House life —beginning with the scraps of opportunity that need to be wholeheartedly grabbed before you get a foot in the door to a real job, and through to the inevitable burnout and decision that it’s time to move on — are nothing if not honest. Litt is open both about his embrace of a cult-like devotion for President Obama and his subsequent disappointment when he first realized that his beloved president could and would fail on occasion. And he’s also honest about his missteps as well, and how in a place like D.C., even the tiniest of mistakes can have a global impact. (I wonder if “Pissed the country of Kenya right off” is listed as an accomplishment on his CV?)
Other notes of interest? Silver keys are not necessarily for the bunker. There’s also a few pages devoted to an awkward encounter with Harvey Weinstein, which is likely now far creepier than the author intended.
And for us “West Wing” devotees, he debunks the possibility of the “walk and talk.” That left me a little despondent.
But in the end, for this reader, it’s a reminder of yes, how good we had it when being an articulate leader was appreciated. And where we can come from, and go, as a collective working together for good. No lie — it still sucks right now, but Litt’s humor and compassion and drive make for a comfortable respite from today’s news. Give it a try.