I think what's interesting about the entire Obama Era (well the last year of it), is that D.C.—as always—missed the point. The TV heads and hacks on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox always seemed to talk about Obama and his politics and ideas or lack there of and so on and so forth. They see that Obama inspires people, but they can't tell us why.
But most of us, even us Policy Wonks, didn't really focus on Obama the politician. He always was BIGGER than social issues or health care or even—eventually—the economy. The Obama Era is a phenomena, not in a political sense, but rather in a cultural arena. Yet the Beltway types always missed this. The newspapers once in a while came close, but since Obama is an Arts feature that happens to be on the front page, they never nailed it.
News is constant and instantaneous in the 21st century, the need for information isn't as great—we don't have to watch the 5 o'clock news to see what happened during the day—we already know. But TV news hasn't changed, it continues to give us the same story over and over and over again until something new happens (TV news is, after all, completely reactionary; thus I personally find it boring). Newspapers have somewhat changed in that it gives us context of what happened and attempts to look to the future (because we already know what happened). But newspapers are stuck because they are being pulled between the Old Guard and it's 'what happened' and the newer guard attempting to look at what will be.
The media talk of Obama only as a politician, what he did and what he hopes to. This is necessary, but it also misses what people in bars and on the bus are talking about. Obama has transcended the political realm... as I said, he's an arts feature that happens to be front page news every day. And in all that I've read, all that I've heard, all that I've watched... the best conversation or piece on Obama and what he is and means just happens to be on ESPN.com.
Crazy I know, but the conversation between Bill Simmons and J.A. Adande about Obama is fantastic. They capture what he means to the general public, not some 'pretend to know it all' hack on TV inside the Beltway. Those types are treating Obama like they treated Clinton—but that's the wrong way of looking, studying, and reporting on Obama.
Anyway, here is the conversation/podcast, they kick off talking about the NBA but about 20 or 25 mins in they switch to Obama and it's fantastic (the podcast is on the right hand side of the page, download or play from there).
*CEO, China: The Rise of Xi Jinping* - That is the new and excellent book by Kerry Brown. Almost all books on China are either bad or mediocre, but this one is the best book I ever have read ...
53 minutes ago