Obam-meh? Hold the Fanfare Until He’s Done Something.

By Phil Bronstein | Related entries in Barack, Media


Baramania continues unabated, even though the election is over and cloudy crises fill the sky.

“He’s still selling papers,” a colleague told me the other day. When was the last time you could say that about a politician? Another baby boomer here suddenly realized this was the first Nov. 22 he hadn’t thought about the assassination of John Kennedy, probably because he’s so jazzed about the halo of hope and promise around Mr. Obama he’s finally willing to let go his grasp on the last superstar president.

My own 23-month-old son knows what’s up. He points even to rough illustrations and cartoon caricature renderings of the lanky chief-in-waiting and says, with great enthusiasm, “Barack Obama.” Of course he’s enthusiastic about everything and he can also name all the planets, including two moons of Jupiter, so maybe I’m just bragging on my kid. But someone other than me obviously had a chat with him about the epic nature of the last election. Is the under-two set, like everyone else, marveling over this phenomenon on the teeter-totter?

When, if ever, will the messy and oil-stained work of the Barackcracy replace the glitter and awe?

Bush White House press secretary, Dana Perino, who I think was unfairly short-changed and elbowed out of the way by Governor Palin in the guilty pleasure Democratic male crush club, gives Mr. Obama eight months before the honeymoon’s over.

I don’t know. Could be longer. Just as one example: Look at Monday’s SF Chronicle op ed page which, if you take op ed literally, means views opposing those on the editorial page. Almost every inch was devoted to gleaming Obamia. (OK, that’s the last rancid Obama name play in this post.) There’s a piece by a college student on “Why I voted for Barak Obama.” My old friend Cynthia Tucker at the Atlanta Constitution writes that “Bin Laden and his bullies worry about Obama,” which is upbeat unless you’re a Qaeda terrorist. And an abortion essay, referring to an Obama comment during a debate, starts with, “Be still, my heart.”

It remains a love fest out there. Especially for a guy who hasn’t done anything yet in the new job. Reputable magazine covers picture him as FDR, JFK or AL (Lincoln)

But the honeymoon could be shorter, too. There is some wilting around the edges. Avoiding the in-the-tank cliche, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin jammed media bias for Mr. Obama at a Politico/USC conference Friday. “It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war,” he said. “It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.” Not everyone there agreed, it’s fair to say, particularly other reporters. The press always struggles with a contradictory need both to defend ourselves in what may be the last great unregulated craft, now that Wall Street is being put in diapers, and a dark and compulsive masochistic streak.

And while the Chronicle had a straight-ahead front page story Monday about the Obama organization’s continued use of the web for better tech communications and policy sales pitches, other writers have been a little skittish – even critical – about a YouTube presidency. People can find plenty of new age ways to send their views to the new Administration, but with comments on Mr. Obama’s YouTube videos disabled, how is all of this shiny platform stuff helping people actually participate? This is the same dilemma we have in journalism. The public speaking up is great; having them get involved is better.

“New” doesn’t necessarily mean different or effective or appropriate. Let’s see how all that goes.

Then there’s the whole Clinton machine thing, which filled the hectoring talk shows all weekend and isn’t worth adding to here. I’ll just say that questions were raised about just how complete that “change” deal is.

Monday also brought some ominous readings at the bottom of the news cycle teacup if you were a liberal/progressive supporter of the President-elect. “Tax cuts for the wealthy likely to stay until 2011,” was one headline. Tough-on-immigration Governor Janet Napolitano was named the new Homeland Security director. Protestors called on Mr. Obama to close the always controversial School of the Americas in DC (Looks like he’ll close Guantanamo but maybe not this homeroom class for foreign regimes) and to kiss and make up with Cuba.

Adoration continues, though. I’m not trying to dampen the enthusiasm or the historical moment. I’m just saying, as my pal Lance Williams says. I don’t want Mark Halperin ever claiming that I gave the highest public official in the land a free pass.

Read more at Bronstein at Large.


This entry was posted on Thursday, November 27th, 2008 and is filed under Barack, Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “Obam-meh? Hold the Fanfare Until He’s Done Something.”

  1. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    From what I’m reading, Obama’s left flank is already getting worried that he’s not the progressive hero they believed him to be. But they like him so much that I think it’ll take at least a year before they turn on him in the way they had turned on Clinton by the time he was reforming welfare and bombing Bosnia. As for the rest of Obama’s supporters, his support will depend almost exclusively on the economy. He probably gets until next summer before people start griping that he’s not doing enough or not doing the right things.

    It’ll be intereting to see how his job approval raiting tracks.

  2. mw Says:

    Phil,
    mmm – a virtual smorgasbord of links and topic. Nice. My first question was how do I get myself Obamafied like your pic in the heading. Found the link on your Chron blog, but alas it appears to be Mac only. I’ll have to wait to find a Windows version.

    But on to a more substantive topic…

    [Short delay while I adopt a my best Keith Olbermann High Dudgeon posture]

    How dare you sir? You – a pillar of the journalistic/blogging community, a liberal Democrat steeped in the mainstream values of the left-leaning edge of the left of center the most lefty leftist city of the far left coast? You sir would deign to question whether the fawning press coverage and virtual deification of our President elect might be a tad bit premature? And worse – to suggest – IN YOUR TITLE NO LESS – that we wait “until he does something”? Do you think us stupid sir? Do you think we THE (52% of) AMERICAN PEOPLE do not understand the slanderous implication of your statements? You dare to imply that our President Elect has yet to show that he is the GREATEST PRESIDENT THAT THIS COUNTRY OR THIS WORLD OR THIS UNIVERSE OR ANY UNIVERSE HAS HAD OR EVER WILL HAVE? How dare you. HOW DARE YOU? Do you forget your place sir? I am ashamed to find myself as a member of the same journalistic/blogging community. I should not have to remind you we have a job to do. Our job is to support our great President elect, without question, without doubt, and without hesitation. Thank you and GOOD NIGHT.

  3. Justin Gardner Says:

    mw, nice Olbermann. Wish I could see you do a video version of that. :-)

    Phil, I think Obama understands where we are in history and knows he can be the unifying figure to potentially bring this country together. And so far, so good. He’s appointing an appropriately centrist cabinet to push that agenda. Still, you’re right that we haven’t seen much agenda yet, but I’ve followed this guy for 4 years now and he is a model of consistency and poise. So is it that naive of me to have hope?

  4. Cy Says:

    Whose idea was it to give Andy Rooney a political column on Donklephant?

  5. Justin Gardner Says:

    It was my idea. Glad you’re enjoying it. :-)

  6. phil bronstein Says:

    Did you ever notice that commenters are always COMMENTING?! Why don’t they just send a LETTER? If it’s not one thing it’s another…

    That was my best Andy Rooney, but not nearly as good as mw’s Keith Olbermann impression. You know you’re in trouble as a guest on his show when he calls you “sir” instead of by your actual name.

    I’m not really a cynic, though I write like one at times. So Justin, keep hope alive, as Jesse Jackson used to say long before he threatened on live TV to castrate Mr. Obama.

  7. Justin Gardner Says:

    Well, you should see the emails I get some time. Holy sh…

    Back to Olbermann’s quirks…every time that guy says “Good night and good luck” I just cringe. It’s like, “Really? You really think you’re Murrow? REALLY!?!?!?!?!” It’s like when O’Reilly says he’s going to give it to the viewer straight or says “You’re entered the no spin zone.” Pffft…

    As for me, I’m trying to keep hope alive one post at a time, although maybe not exactly the type of Hopeâ„¢ Jesse has been peddling year after year. In fact, I think that brand may have expired around November 4th. Fingers crossed.

  8. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

    Thus far, given the lack of change at Defense, the inclusion of so many Clinton-era officials in his incoming administration, a Scowcroftian foreign policy, and a Greenspan-admiring economic team, it’s hard to see how Obama is screwing us.

    In fact, the only ones who got screwed thus far were the far-Left groups that bought into the Hope and Change populism and thought Obama would start a new Golden Age of Progressivism.

  9. mw Says:

    “I’m not really a cynic…” – pb

    @phil
    Well, that’s a relief, because that is kind of my turf here, and I am not sure this blog is big enough for two of us.

    @justin
    You may yet see that video. I’ve been told I have a passing resemblance to KO (although greyer). I may pickup some square horn-rimmed glasses and take a shot at my 15 minutes of you-tube fame with a Special Comment on – what else – KO’s Special Comments. Next year when KO completely loses the plot and out P.R’s Obama’s Press Secretary on a daily basis should be a good time t kick it off.

  10. Justin Gardner Says:

    @mw about your @phil…heh, well, I’m glad you said it. :-)

    Hmm, something tells me we need to do a podcast and we should start looking into Bloggingheads.tv to publish some head to head post-partisan action. After all, I’m sure we could get some special guests…perhaps even Andy Rooney.

  11. ew Says:

    I can’t stop thinking that these illuminati obama obsessives.. are seeing some sort of halo that I don’t see. I don’t get it. I think it’s wonderful that we’re having our first non-white president, but his policies and plans don’t amaze me.

    Did you ever date someone that all of your friends wondered about.. and then you took a step back and months or years later, thought “what was I thinking?” I hope some of that goes on with Obama in the next few years.

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