Yes he can!
On Wednesday morning on NBC’s The Today Show, Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel announced that President Barack Obama was named the 2012 “Person of the Year.” This isn’t the first time he’s received this honor. He was also Time Magazine’s 2008 Person of the Year. Reelection played a big role in the decision.
“He obviously won re-election,” Stengel said. “He won re-election despite higher unemployment rate than anyone had to face in 70 years. He’s the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote. That’s something we haven’t seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And he’s basically the beneficiary and the author of a new America. A new demographic, a new cultural America that he’s now the symbol of.”
Besides the factor of the election, Stengel said in his explanation that the choice of President Obama was because he is seen not only as a political figure, but also a cultural leader who is the personification of the new America.
“There has been much talk of the coalition of the ascendant — young people, minorities, Hispanics, college-educated women — and in winning re-election, Obama showed that these fast-growing groups are not only the future but also the present,” Stengel wrote. About 40% of millennials — the largest generational cohort in U.S. history, bigger even than the baby boomers — are nonwhite. If his win in 2008 was extraordinary, then 2012 is confirmation that demographic change is here to stay.”
Short list predictions included:
- Malala Yousafzai, the teenaged Pakistani activist who was shot in the head after she advocated for education for girls, was the first runner-up
- Egyptial President Mohamed Morsi
- Bill and Hillary Clinton for global activism and humanitarianism
- Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
- Higgs Boson, the particle of the year
- The three scientists who discovered Higgs Boson
Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” is selected based on the person who has had the most influence over the culture and news of the year. The honor can be awarded for reasons “good” or “bad.” The first person of the year, which was actually dubbed “Man of the Year” at the time, was awarded to Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Other selections have included Mohandas Gandhi in 1930, and Adolf Hitler in 1938.
Person of the year isn’t always an individual person. Occasionally, the honor goes to a concept or thing. The 2011 Person of the Year was “The Protester,” a collective of people around the world who protested injustice and oppression, primarily in the Middle East. The Baby Boomers were chosen as person of the year in 1966, and in 1982, The Computer.
Watch the video below, or read the full text of the cover story by Michael Scherer.