"It took an accident to make this man this president of the United States. What they do to him now won't be an accident."
-- Advertisement for "The Man," 1972 movie about the first black president, staring James Earl Jones.
It was certainly no accident when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. It was one thing to promise "CHANGE" in block capital letters, but Obama looked and felt like "CHANGE" sent over from central casting. Sure, running and winning as the first black president was part of that -- many Americans were delighted that after 42 (Cleveland twice) white men, the diversity that you'd see on the sidewalks of Pennsylvania Avenue was finally on display inside the house at No. 1600.
But I always felt that it was a lot more, that America simply needed a president who would be smart and rational and cool, who after too many years of right-wing craziness inside the Beltway believes -- in the words famously uttered by fictional Will McAvoy on the Newsroom -- "that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not gay marriage."
The 5-year anniversary of Obama's presidency came and went with little fanfare, but with a much-anticipated State of the Union speech coming tomorrow, it's still an excellent time to reflect on how he's done. The president certainly made an interesting and controversial remark in the New Yorker last week when he said “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president."