A couple of days ago, Politico posted a piece about how the closing of the presidential bubble was already beginning to chafe Barack Obama. All I could think was: Better make peace with it quickly, my man, because things are about to get so much worse. 

All presidents suffer culture shock when the office's lack of person freedom hits home. There's a reason that Bill Clinton whined that the White House was "the jewel of the federal prison system." Not being able to sneeze, jog, or choke on a pretzel without its being documented for historical purposes takes a toll on a body.

Presumably, Obama will feel the strain more than some of his predecessors because of his relative youth, his inexperience with such constraints, and his fondness for personal privacy. But I'm wondering if, in addition, 44's bubble will actually be appreciably more air-tight than ordinary because of his status as our first black president. 

Not to focus on the macabre--or to disparage Obama's post-racial sense of self--but there are still enough unreconstructed racists running around with screws loose and guns loaded (a matter of concern for some African-Americans in the early stages of the presidential race) to merit extra precautions. I mean, sweet Jesus, can you imagine the fallout if anything untoward were to happen to our historic new leader? The outpouring of outrage in the nation's major cities could make the 1968 riots look like a collection of block parties. Were I part of the Secret Service detail covering Renegade, I'd beg the guy never to leave the Oval Office without donning a Kevlar chadri.

I realize, of course, that this is neither a practical nor a healthy way to manage a president. Sends a bad signal about one's ability to stay in touch with the people. That said, I hope the president-elect doesn't have his heart set on last-minute desert runs with the girls post-January 20th. Once Obama is actually the leader of the free world, it will take three weeks notice, an executive order, and the threatened wrath of Michelle just to get him to the occasional soccer game.

--Michelle Cottle