For the second time, Barack Obama is TIME Magazine’s person of the year. After being included on a short list that featured the Clintons and Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, joins the same club as fellow two-fer Persons like former president Ronald Reagan, both father and son George Bush, Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.
Time leads off their explanation of why they chose the recently re-elected president by borrowing a section from “Letters from an American Farmer” and asking “What is an American?”
“That question reverberated in the late 18th century as the Old World tried to make sense of the New. It’s still relevant 230 years later, in part because Americans are changing even as America itself remains much the same.”
After a tough election and an even tougher first term, choosing Obama is an interesting choice. He didn’t get the popular vote from Time’s readers, but the polling and results were different this year.
“Obama is the first Democratic President since FDR to win more than 50% of the vote in consecutive elections and the first President since 1940 to win re-election with an unemployment rate north of 7.5%. He has stitched together a winning coalition and perhaps a governing one as well. His presidency spells the end of the Reagan realignment that had defined American politics for 30 years. We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.”
Don’t fret–Nate Silver got some profile love from OUT as their person of the year. And technically, the Internet did vote for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, even if it was a gigantic joke.
It’s still interesting to end 2012 on the same note from 2008. Which would be terrifying to think that Beltway politics could be just pulling a gigantic version of “Groundhog Day.” Or, if you really wanted to know what it takes to be a person of the year?