President Barack Obama seems to carry the swag of a rock star, with each new policy being promoted like his latest album. He does the talk show circuit like no president before him, appearing wherever he wants, whenever he wants.
Of course the Republicans hate him for it. It’s difficult to vilify a black man who is more charismatic, intelligent and persuasive than any member of your entire party. Obama takes on hundreds of Republicans in a single bound, even breaking them down in public debates over the intricacies of the health care bill. I remain quite impressed.
On one hand, Obama’s consistent media presence makes sense. The world loves Obama more than they like his policies. His consistently declining approval rating from the American public is contradicted by the fact that his appearances are the political anti-biotic that seems to make things better. America is angry about the economy, but for the most part, that anger has not been directed solely at the president.
WATCH ‘DAILY RUNDOWN’ COVERAGE OF OBAMA’S MEDIA APPEARANCES:
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But with any antibiotic, the target eventually becomes less responsive over time. With Obama appearing on television every other week, he is at risk of becoming a political version of Diddy, with all of us saying, “Oh, it’s that guy again? That’s cool, but let’s change the channel.”
It must be maintained that the Obama administration is better off with the president being out in public than they would be with him hiding behind gigantic walls within some kind of royal fortress. The age of the Internet requires a new style of connected interaction and leadership that makes our president touchable for those whom he claims to represent. Celebrities now interact with fans on Twitter and Facebook, and are no longer the distant figures they were before we could embarrass them on blogs and e-blasts.
While it seems a bit odd for the president of the United States to be sitting next to Whoopi Goldberg on “The View,” this may be the right move for Obama. In some ways, reducing the president to a daytime talk show guest certainly risks undermining the mystique of the Oval Office, but maintaining such mystique is more reflective of an aristocracy than a government being run by and for the people. While I don’t consider Barack Obama to be a real man of the people (notice how he treats Harvard, Yale and University of Chicago graduates differently from everyone else), he certainly does a very good job of pretending that he is one of us.
All in all, the White House must avoid becoming a one-trick pony, behaving like proud parents who send their cute 5-year old daughter out to sell girl scout cookies so they can pay the rent. While the little girl’s dance might sell a few rotten cookies the first couple of times, people eventually become irritated when she rings the doorbell.
Eventually, the quality of the product is all that matters, and there will certainly come a time when people evaluate the substance of President Obama’s policies and not his toothy smile and eloquent prose. That day is nearly here, but fortunately for Obama, the product is not all that bad.