Hey There – the author is notoriously an “Anne Coulter” type but here she’s not as irrational and this editorial speaks to Dems disenchanted with Obama’s priorities as well…
This article first appeared in the New York Daily News
July 28, 2010 – Thursday marks either a momentous occasion worthy of celebration or the end of civilization as we know it. For the first time in history, a sitting United States President will appear on a daytime talk show when Barack Obama joins the ladies of “The View” for what promises to be some rigorous policy talk – or a gabfest that will embarrass both daytime television (if that’s possible) and the office of the President.
Before you accuse me of harboring some holier-than-thou, self-righteous indignation over the fact that our commander in chief will sit alongside three comediennes, a reality show star and Barbara Walters to hawk his political wares to stay-at-home moms, just consider the following.
We are still fighting two increasingly trying wars overseas, witnessing terrifying new levels of creativity from would-be terrorists (underwear bombs, etc.), mopping up a greasy mess in the Gulf of Mexico and trying to right an economy that seems insistent on remaining off the rails. And the so-called leader of the free world thinks the best use of his time is to yuk it up with Whoopi Goldberg.
This is either a moment to celebrate as some kind of pivot in the political zeitgeist, when the White House sheds its veneer of sanctimony to slum it with the common folk, or it’s high time to weep over an experiment in democracy that went wildly awry. Perhaps we were so busy wondering if we could elect a charismatic President that we didn’t bother to ask if we actually should.
Regardless, this is where we are: Obama is in trouble and doing what he usually does in this situation, reverting to showmanship instead of leadership: Beer summits with cranky Harvard professors and Cambridge cops, ESPN appearances to fill out his March Madness bracket, appearing on David Letterman‘s “Late Show” to joke about his agenda – little of which is composed of laughing matter, as far as I can tell.
Maybe we want the President of the new millennium to be more P.T. Barnum than Abraham Lincoln – an illusionist selling cheap tricks and sleights of hand under a colorful, shiny tent. Everyone likes a good show, after all, even if we know what we’re seeing isn’t real. But history has a funny way of pulling the curtain back to reveal that the all-powerful showman was really just a small man with a microphone.
Obama will surely discuss the state of the nation on “The View,” in between coos and leg pats from Sherri, wisecracks from Joy and earnest pseudo-journalism from Elisabeth, but it’s unlikely he’ll change the minds of voters who are increasingly unimpressed that our President is a wiz at self-promotion, but no good at steering the nation through these tricky straits.
It’s terrifying stuff, but not entirely unimaginable. Mike Judge‘s 2006 treatise on American stupidity is probably meant to mock his audience, but it should also make us think about our priorities.
That President Obama thinks it’s okay – advantageous even! – to sit on a couch in a fake living room on television’s version of a knitting circle to reassure frustrated voters doesn’t only say something about this administration, but about us. We got what we paid for: An inexperienced idealist out of touch with the struggles of average Americans. Paul McCartney concerts at the White House won’t solve much, but we can pat ourselves on the back for electing “a President who knows what a library is,” as the Beatle nicely put it.
Maybe going on daytime television isn’t so terrible an idea, but “The View”? At least if Obama was doing Jerry Springer you could count on some genuine audience haranguing and maybe even a fight or two. I can hear the chants now: “Def-i-cit! Def-i-cit! Def-i-cit!” All we’ll get with Barbara Walters is some canned campaign rhetoric and polite laughter. Even if Elisabeth tries to engage him in tough policy talk, you can rest assured Whoopi will shove her back in line.
P.T. Barnum once asserted that “without promotion something terrible happens … nothing!” It seems as though he’s been reincarnated in the 21st century as our 44th President. But, then again, he also said there’s a sucker born every minute. Truer words were never spoken.