Everything in the garden is lovely.

Apologies if someone has already posted or commented on this outpouring of Obamalove from Matt Frei. It’s a month old now but still astonishing.

Turning one corner of the White House lawn into a vegetable allotment was an inspired move. And like just about everything else the First Family has turned its attention to, it seemed to come naturally.


The Obamas do not look awkward doing normal things.

Considering the combination of limelight and expectations weighing on the White House, this is quite an achievement.

George W Bush smirked too much, displaying the unbearable lightness of his being at inappropriate times. His father was accused of not knowing what a supermarket checkout scanner was.

I love that “was accused of”. Was it too much trouble for the BBC (aim: to be the world’s most trusted provider of international news) to check out this rumour on Snopes and establish whether the accusation was – what was that word again? – oh, yes, true?

As a candidate, Barack Obama showed that he can harness the power of the Internet and reach out to millions of eager foot-soldiers while keeping the decisions that matter confined to a tiny kitchen cabinet.

Apart from a few slip-ups, he has maintained that mixture of outer charm and inner discipline, of outreach and exclusivity


But what I do remember is that they hit the right note and touched the right nerve at the right time.

On the economy, he was sober without being too pessimistic. On bankers’ bonuses, he shared our outrage without inciting the masses to put heads on stakes. On life in the White House, he combined humility, pride and fun at being the boss with bemusement at life in the armoured bubble.

He told Europe that America had been too arrogant and then chastised Europeans for being prone to a knee-jerk anti-Americanism.

On swine flu, he said there was reason to be concerned but no cause for alarm.

Fear the flu. But flu is not to be feared. When you understand this koan, said the Master, then you will have enlightenment.

He is both bold and measured. It is called nuance – and America and the world have been yearning for it.

America and the World: Yearning for Nuance Since November 3rd 2004.

The marriage of reassuring language and bold policy has been his true victory in the first 100 days.

And there I was thinking his true victory was something to do with General Motors.

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26 Responses to Everything in the garden is lovely.

  1. Thud says:

    Now that my Catholicism has been demonised I was looking for a new crutch…job done!

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  2. JohnA says:

    To read Matt Frei, you'd think Obama is flawless, perfect, can do no wrong. It reads like a parody, it really is that bad.

    But cracks are already appearing. The Supreme Court may now decide to block the terms of the Chrysler reorganisation. That is – telling Obama that he is NOT above the rule of law. Whatever the Supreme Court says, most Americans oppose the bale-out of Chrysler and General Motors at huge public cost.

    Various other aspects of Obama's policies are now opposed by a majority of Americans. So much for "nuance is better".

    Next week the Israel PM will tell Obama bluntly to get his FACTS straight – on the history and on the present prospects for peace. All the soft-focus mistiness about what-a-wonderful-world-is Islam will be rudely pushed aside – America must face up to realpolitik in the Middle East, to the basic fact that the Arabs still refuse any deal that allows Israel to continue to exist. And American voters will be shown the clear choice – do they flush Israel down the pan, or do they agree with the historic support for Israeli democracy ?

    North Korea has told Obama he is weak. The Chinese haven't even started to be truculent yet – but most Americans can see how Obama's reckless borrowing and spending is putting the US in hock. The Europeans are refusing to properly support the US in Afghanistan or in taking Gitmo prisoners. Cheney is winning hands-down the argument about how to deal with terrorists, how to safeguard America.

    Even this short while after the election, the latest Rasmussen poll shows that just as many Americans strongly disapprove of Obama as approve.

    This is where Frei always goes wrong. He assumes that his own worship of Obama translates to total popularity among all Americans. But the election was NOT a walkover. And now that Obama is having to change from electioneering to taking charge of events, his weaknesses are becoming much clearer to more people.

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  3. Robert S. McNamara says:

    Add this to the 'The BBC doesn't have the faintest clue what's happening outside of its own little (which, unfortunately isn't little at all) bubble' pile. Best start a new pile. This one is getting a bit big after the past few days of election results.

    Actually, no, scrap that. This has got to be a parody of a slimy, wretched sycophant. Good one, Matt – you had me going for a while. But this is a little too much even for a degenerate scumbag hyper-partisan hack/BBC employee.

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  4. Grant says:

    Pass the sick bag !

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  5. Mailman says:

    Awe, that was beautiful from Frei wasnt it? Had me weaping with thankfulness that we have someone as super brainy as Barry running the world now.

    Anyway, whats even more concerning is that Frei has been bought by a myth. Surely, with all the assets Al Beeb has at its disposal he could have checked to see if the story was real or not?

    Or perhaps, even more worrying, he really doesnt care whether the story is real or not because as far as he is concerned, it is true.

    That is the mind of a biased person, and as such should have NO place at Al Beeb.

    Mailman

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  6. Not a sheep says:

    I think it's all rather beautiful, I feel all soft and sentimental in fact I may go and buy a puppy.

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  7. Sutekh says:

    I'm not well at the moment. If I touch the hem of The One's coat, will I be healed?

    Perhaps Matt Frei could tell me?

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  8. Abandon Ship! says:

    Have you heard Frei's new Americana podcasts? He fearlessly tours the flyover and redneck states in search of "sane" people (i.e. democrats, environmentalists, atheists etc).

    Just listen to his last podcast for instance where he interviews two young Republicans – and wonders in astonishment why YOUNG PEOPLE might be supporting GOP, especially when THE ONE is there to worship.

    Awful stuff.

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  9. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Matt Frei is not an honest journalist. He prefers storytelling.

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  10. Jim Miller says:

    Funny example he chooses to start with.

    As an American farm boy, I can tell you that Michelle Obama looked silly as hell in her fancy boots pretending to dig up the garden. And I think most English gardeners would have the same reaction.

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  11. Red Lepond says:

    Matt(hias) Frei is German by birth, so he has an ingrained yearning to follow The Leader.

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  12. Philip says:

    Frei's hagiography of The One is delivered with the same panting, trouser-wetting 'front-page' glee with which they're currently covering the middle class UAF bath dodgers' violent prevention of Nick Griffin's press conference outside Parliament.

    This week is turning out to be an extra-special bias fest at the Beeb. All that's needed now is a massive exposé of Israeli brutality toward the people that try to kill and bomb them every day – and it'll be a classic.

    Quick someone – call the Independent.

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  13. John Bosworth says:

    Matt Frei looks silly now – but just wait a few months. He will look ridiculous then.

    The reason? I can't put my finger on it, but in the last few days I have sensed, talking a wide variety of people, that they are beginning to understand the true meaning of Obama. His foes have become more vocal while his friends shift uncomfortably in their seats and do readily defend him.

    Methinks the truth is dawning – to everyone except Matt Frei.

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  14. John Bosworth says:

    That should be: "do NOT readily defend him." Sorry.

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  15. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Abandon Ship! @ 3:25 PM

    RE: Matt Frei's "Americana"

    He could not have been more patronizing to the young Republicans. True, they were pretty useless anyway, which is why he had them on, but the tone of Frei's voice when he teased them for mentioning Cameron several times was about as unprofessional as it gets.

    Next the BBC finds the one example where they don't laugh at Christians for talking about God's inspiration behind their actions: a Conservative Christian mayor who is making his town "go green". They're doing energy efficiency stuff to save money, and the mayor says it should be beyond a political Left or Right argument. So the presenter starts talking up the religious angle, but in a positive manner. His approved Green Thought trumps the anti-Conservative Christian unapproved thought. The US Beeboid (not British) even starts referring to "the gospel of green". The BBC finds Christians quite nice when it suits them.

    Now Frei Boy is talking to an Obamessiah Administration mouthpiece about more green stuff. "What's more important, "asks Frei, "Money or preserving God's earth? And just like he reported last night as fact, Frei goes along with the government propaganda about 450,000 jobs The Obamessiah's Green Jobs programs will create. It'll be Roosevelt's WPA all over again. Frei is not interested in asking how much more this will increase the deficit, but instead is giving leading questions to the government mouthpiece in his propaganda presentation.

    I can only imagine what everyone on your side of the pond thinks of this.

    I demand a rebuttal.

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  16. disillusioned_german says:

    If you compare it to the "God" comment by Newsweek's Evan Thomas the Frei piece is actually quite balanced.

    These Lefties surely are deranged. I wish I were a psychiatrist.

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  17. Umbongo says:

    On a related topic of BBC "journalists" toeing the BBC line a la Frei, when Humphrys was interviewing Osborne on Monday after (although you'd never guess from the BBC coverage) the Conservative triumph at the polls Humphrys reserved particular opprobrium for the Czech president (whose party the Conservatives might link up with in the EU "parliament") because said president is . . wait for it . . a climate change sceptic. Humphrys could not believe anybody outside a lunatic asylum (or a nazi party) could have doubts about the MMGW hype.

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  18. Jeff says:

    I saw the flesh crawling interview the other evening. I had to look through my fingers. It was the most nauseating thing I have witnessed since 1974, when my sister bumped into David Essex. Mind you, it's acceptable for teenage girls to behave like love struck imbeciles, but surely not grown up "journalists"!

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  19. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Oh, and about that "jobs creation" propaganda Matt Frei was promoting on his "American" segment: It seems he's been taken in.

    Even Democrats in the Senate no longer believe it.

    But Matt Frei does. And he's using your license fee to make you believe it, too.

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  20. John Bosworth says:

    More Obama love from Matt in the Guardian:

    "Because of the combined demands of ageing parents and growing children, our next move will probably be back to the UK. Despite the miserable weather, the exorbitant petrol and the cramped housing, there is a lot to be said for returning to become a resident non-alien and planting one's toothbrush in a place called home. The father of the two young African-American girls going to the school at the end of our road is a good example. A son of Kansas and Kenya, Barack Obama was brought up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He understands the world, but he belongs in America."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/17/family-first-person-matt-frei-washington

    I think he's in love.

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  21. GCooper says:

    Frei boy is going to be in big trouble with his colleagues when he gets back if he doesn't drop the whining about high petrol prices.

    High energy prices are just what all eco-Leftists are supposed to want.

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  22. pete says:

    Frei's eulogies will be forgotten when Obama fails to be the messiah and just another fairly normal, run-of-the -mill president. All the liberal lefty BBC types and their uncritical fans in Guardianland will have moved on to their next saviour and hero by then.

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  23. JohnW says:

    "What's more important, "asks Frei, "Money or preserving God's earth?

    Great – we can now cancel the millions of pounds budgetted by the BBC for taxis! OK, Frei? Just get the bus home, cycle or – dare I say it – WALK.

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  24. Mailman says:

    As already mentioned, young love…it blinds you to everything 🙂

    Mailman

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  25. Grant says:

    Frei's belief in God will not go down well with his fellow Beeboids, unless he is a muslim, of course.

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  26. George R says:

    BBC won't like this piece on Obama, and BBC's chum at Al Jazeera TV, Rageh Omaar:

    "UK shouldn't kowtow to Islamic world like Obama" (By Carol Gould, 'pajamamedia.com' 11 June).

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