The magazine that puts Capital Letters on everything and everyone, Vanity Fair, now enters Uncharted Territory in Obamanalysis...the President's delicacy about former girlfriends in his own two memoirs by conflating his experiences with them into "composites."
Obamographer David Maraniss teases out from the diaries and letters of one in New York and another in Chicago who is who.
"I was very sensitive in my book not to write about my girlfriends, partly out of respect for them," Obama tells Maraniss, helping break down the composites.
Beyond generational gaps, all the soul-searching of young Obama and his Ivy League friends points up problem the President still has with voters who see him as elitist and out of touch with their values.
Gooey diary entries about identity and self-discovery will not reassure those who find Obama too intellectual and exotic, although who knows what they will make of Mitt Romney's straight-laced Mormonism? At the age the young Obama was trying to find out where in the world he belonged, Romney was working as a teen-aged missionary in Europe, coming back with a "death certificate" after a car crash.
One of Obama's composites gushes: "The sexual warmth is definitely there—but the rest of it has sharp edges, and I’m finding it all unsettling and finding myself wanting to withdraw from it all. I have to admit that I am feeling anger at him for some reason, multi-stranded reasons. His warmth can be deceptive. Tho he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness—and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him that could get to me."
All this is marginally interesting, but it recalls what a much older friend said about Audrey Hepburn movies half a century ago: "I can't watch that stuff. It makes me feel coarse."
What we have in this election are no easy old-fashioned "American" choices, such as those McCain and Palin tried to offer four years ago. Neither Obama nor Romney can drape the flag around himself culturally.
There won't be any "composite" old lovers in the GOP candidate's story, but neither will Obama have to explain Romney's only one year at Stanford University, working as a night security guard to fund trips home to see his future wife.
Both ended up with their true loves, but what will voters make of how these strange birds got there?