What a honeymoon it will be … but how long will it last?

For the most part, Howard Kurtz was right on in his piece, which ran in yesterday’s Washington Post. He made me laugh by reciting some of the headlines–”New home, new friends, new puppy!”–and made me think when he cited what The New Republic was saying about John F. Kennedy in 1961. He was 100 percent correct in his assessment of media behavior during the campaign and in the weeks following. But I think he might have been wrong with his last statement.

“Obama’s days of walking on water won’t last indefinitely,” Kurtz writes. “His chroniclers will need a new story line. And sometime after Jan. 20, they will wade back into reality.”

I agree with his premise, and certainly would not want to be in Obama’s shoes confronting a dismal economy, two wars, radical Islam, a reinvigorated Russia and more with such astronomical expectations, but I think Kurtz has underestimated the media’s love for “That One.” The upcoming inevitable bad news will undoubtedly rest on Bush’s shoulders first and on the Republicans’ shoulders second before falling into the laps of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and White House advisers before reaching Obama’s desk in the Oval Office. Heck, Chris Matthews himself admitted that he perceives his job as a journalist is to make the Obama administration a success.

As we’ve seen with ACORN, with his numerous associations, with his eschewing the FEC audit and more, the media has no problem whatsoever burying adverse stories for as long as is necessary. Why would they stop now?

Anyway, read the Kurtz piece for yourself. Read it, and please pass it along.

– Jeff

A Giddy Sense of Boosterism
By Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled “Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story.” Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama’s campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue — “Obama’s American Dream” — filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.

Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What’s troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there’s nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.

“The Obamas’ New Life!” blares People’s cover, with a shot of the family. “New home, new friends, new puppy!” Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: “I Think I’m a Pretty Cool Dad.” The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle “is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — combined!” for the fashion world.

Whew! Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible, the leader of what the New York Times dubbed “Generation O”?

Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. “OBAMAISM — It’s a Kind of Religion,” says New York magazine. “Those of us too young to have known JFK’s Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us,” Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it “BAM-A-LOT.”

“Here we are,” writes Salon’s Rebecca Traister, “oohing and aahing over what they’ll be wearing, and what they’ll be eating, what kind of dog they’ll be getting, what bedrooms they’ll be living in, and what schools they’ll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas’ tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?”

But aren’t media people supposed to resist this kind of hyperventilating?

“Obama is a figure, especially in pop culture, in a way that most new presidents are not,” historian Michael Beschloss says. “Young people who may not be interested in the details of NAFTA or foreign policy just think Obama is cool, and they’re interested in him. Being cool can really help a new president.”

So can a sense of optimism, reflected on USA Today’s front page. “Poll: Hopes soaring for Obama, administration,” the headline said, with 65 percent saying “the USA will be better off 4 years from now.”

But what happens when adulation gives way to the messy, incremental process of governing? When Obama has to confront a deep-rooted financial crisis, two wars and a political system whose default setting is gridlock? When he makes decisions that inevitably disappoint some of his boosters?

“We’re celebrating a moment as much as a man, I think,” says Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham, whose new issue, out today, compares Obama to Lincoln. “Given our racial history, an hour or two of commemoration seems appropriate. But there is no doubt that the glow of the moment will fade, and I am sure the coverage will reflect that in due course.”

One of the few magazines to strike a skeptical tone is the London-based Economist, which endorsed Obama. “With such a victory come unreasonably great expectations,” its lead editorial says.

Web worship of Obama is nearly limitless. On YouTube alone, the Obama Girl song, “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama,” has been viewed 11.7 million times. Even an unadorned video of the candidate’s election night speech in Chicago has drawn 3.5 million views.

I am not trying to diminish the sheer improbability of what this African American politician, a virtual unknown four years ago, has accomplished. Every one of us views his victory through a personal lens. I thought of growing up in a “Leave It to Beaver” era, when there were no blacks in leading television roles until Bill Cosby was tapped as the co-star of “I Spy” in 1965. When the Watts riots broke out that year, the Los Angeles Times sent an advertising salesman to cover it because the paper had no black reporters. The country has traveled light-years since then.

It is hard to find a precedent in American history. Ronald Reagan was a marquee star because of his Hollywood career, but mainly among older voters, since he made his last movie 16 years before winning the White House in 1980. Jack Kennedy was a more formal figure after winning the 1960 election — “trying to look older than he was, because he thought youth was a handicap in running for president,” Beschloss says — but quickly took on larger-than-life dimensions.

“The Kennedy buildup goes on,” James MacGregor Burns wrote in the New Republic in the spring of 1961. “The adjectives tumble over one another. He is not only the handsomest, the best-dressed, the most articulate, and graceful as a gazelle. He is omniscient; he swallows and digests whole books in minutes; he confounds experts with his superior knowledge of their field. He is omnipotent.”

Soon afterward, Kennedy blundered into the Bay of Pigs debacle.

The media would be remiss if they didn’t reflect the sense of unadulterated joy that greeted Obama’s election, both here and around the world, and the pride even among those who opposed him. Newspapers were stunned and delighted at the voracious demand for post-election editions, prompting The Washington Post and other papers to print hundreds of thousands of extra copies and pocket the change. (When else have we felt so loved lately?) Demand for inaugural tickets has been unprecedented. Barack is suddenly a hot baby name. Record companies are releasing hip-hop songs, by the likes of Jay-Z and Will.I.Am, with such titles as “Pop Champagne for Barack.” Consumers, the Los Angeles Times reports, are buying up “Obama-themed T-shirts, buttons, bobblehead dolls, coffee mugs, wine bottles, magnets, greeting cards, neon signs, mobile phones and framed art prints.”

A barrage of Obama-related books are in the works. Newsweek’s quadrennial election volume is titled “A Long Time Coming: The Historic, Combative, Expensive and Inspiring 2008 Election and the Victory of Barack Obama.” Publishers obviously see a bull market.

MSNBC, which was accused of cheerleading for the Democratic nominee during the campaign, is running promos that say: “Barack Obama, America’s 44th president. Watch as a leader renews America’s promise.” What are viewers to make of that?

There is always a level of excitement when a new president is coming to town — new aides to profile, new policies to dissect, new family members to follow. But can anyone imagine this kind of media frenzy if John McCain had managed to win?

Obama’s days of walking on water won’t last indefinitely. His chroniclers will need a new story line. And sometime after Jan. 20, they will wade back into reality.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have come to the conclusion that for us to be heard, we must hit the media in the wallet. Even if the media believes that what it is doing is more important than money, I am sure that their advertisers do not share this same view.

    Would it not be possible to boycott all media outlets that refuse to do their jobs (investigating and reporting facts), including any sponsors that run ads with these agencies? Boycott all programing affiliated with these same stations?

    Let’s force them to report or go under. Is this not the same life that they have taken upon themselves to give to us by insuring an Obama presidency? Even Fox News has caved. They found it newsworthy to report on Sarah Palin’s clothing allowance and the “anonymous source” that said she did not understand that Africa was a continent, but have ignored actual lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility to hold the office of POTUS.

    Did anyone see howobamagotelected.com? We must stand together against this media!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kool-aid chugging sheeples, Jeff … kool-aid chugging sheeples who want as much as every other fool is willing to offer them, as long as it doesn’t cost them any money or require any effort on their part :-(

    En masse, that’s who we’ve become … our founding fathers sacrificed and died for a vastly different vision of America !

    If you want to do what’s RIGHT for America, then you might want to consider and start acting in ways to ‘$tarve’ the RED monster.

    Join the cause to undo the income tax and chop the IRS down to size … stop voting for a ‘party’ and start voting for tight fisted, frugal, ultra-fiscal conservative candidates, who respect the flag, have deep American pride and love her people.

    A fellow Patriot … who will continue to point out the ominous cloud hanging over the presidency, until the Abomination cracks, and he and his cronies are driven out of Washington!

    Richard Lawrence

  3. Luke Sanderlin says:

    Jeff, as always, you commentary is spot on.

    Luke

    The Freedom to Kill Act – at MyRightHook.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m still hoping that either the pending lawsuits, or the Electoral College will stop this Obama worship train. I’ve sent my state electors the letter and evidentiary attachment from democratic-disaster.com and written the Supreme Court justices.
    Someone, somewhere has got to just use some common sense and stand up for our Constitution.
    Please wake up, America!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Jeff,
    Interesting article and it illustrates just how superficial our country has become. What a message we are sending to our children! I believe Obama won because he correctly gauged the pulse of our society and he knew how to manipulate it and how to capitalize on our fascination with anything that does not require substantive thought. I would neither characterize him as being the next Lincoln or Kennedy but more like Michael Jackson….easy to watch and talented but masking many deep and troubling layers to his character that will eventually surface. Those who have been mesmerized by him may one day feel betrayed and I pray it won’t be too late. The MSM has committed the ultimate betrayal to the people of this country and I hope the backlash will catch up with them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCcHzUmVP5c&feature=related

    more uninformed responses to Obama/McCain questions. Scary!

  7. toto says:

    I admit, I didn’t read this whole article, however I can get the jest of it. I saw something sorta amazing last nite on TV, and I think you’ll hear more of it. I was watching Campbell Brown: No bias no bull (yeah right), when they covered something I thought weird. They were talking about Obamas statements from a year ago that he will end PACs, lobbyist etal. Then the next statement was just how many people in his campaign were affliated with PACs,or have been connected with lobbyists. Where was this news before the election? Seems like the news media is back peddling a little now, I think you’ll see more of it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I will pray for this day and if the fairness will prevail it should happen. For. R.L.,yes, lets drive out the cronies from Washington, until then, I ask myself a question, I never thought I will do. Where are the real Americans,intellectuals, judges, who are willing to fight for our Constitution? What happened with this great Country? As hard, as I try, I can’t find any answer. Can you?

  9. Nick says:

    API has apparently been shut down:

    http://africanpress.wordpress.com/

  10. Lil says:

    It sickens me to think that a high number of American people voted this guy in office. I went to Costco this weekend and I was shocked to see his face on the front cover of People…I live in Acapulco (Mexico) people and the last thing I want to see is this man’s face!! Ughhh!!! I agree with all the posted comments, and frankly like comment #1 stated “we must hit the media in the wallet”. The media has sold out and we’re the ones to suffer. Shame!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Conflict of Interest of Bill’s Activities will prevent Hillary from accepting the SOS post.

    Bill and Obama, not a Match

  12. Anonymous says:

    “OBAMAISM — It’s a Kind of Religion,” says New York magazine. Does anyone remember Jim Jones and Guyana???

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sarah’s book should be interesting reading too.

  14. Anonymous says:
  15. Anonymous says:

    The media (nor the lefties) will never admit to mistakes that BO will make, instead they will continue to blame Bush, their lifetime scapegoat.

  16. Tom says:

    Sorry my friends, but I just cannot do it anymore. After almost losing my job and clearly losing clout with my employer and my peers for being a true conservative, and now having to endure the pop-stardom mentality of politics in America, combined with an impending economic collapse which is sure to be followed by totalitarianism on a scale not seen in history, I am making my escape plan. Sadly, every generation in my family shed blood in the name of freedom for this country, and I and my brother have both served in the military, all for naught. Our society has deteriorated to mindlessness and a desire for pleasure over substance. I personally am working on converting every liquid dollar I have to gold, finding a place in a remote rural country and purchasing some land far away from “civilization” where I can farm and sustain myself and my family outside this “post modern” barbarism and the inevitable globalization and hegemony that is clearly visible on the horizon. Good night and good luck to the former U.S.A, we waited too long and let “political correctness,” “tolerance” and undeserved faith in our politicians to destroy this country from within. What a shame.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Donofrio’s refile has made it onto the docket for submission to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

    What is weird, the clerks have struck again having dated the filing as of the 14th, whereas the certified mail receipt of the filing is dated the 17th.

    http://origin.www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/08a407.htm

  18. Anonymous says:

    Leo Donofrio’s emergency stay shows to have reached Justice Clarence Thomas.

  19. Ted Park says:

    Oh, my dear friends – on this eve of great hope, and many lawsuits “in the works” – I bring great despair and a sense of woe. I have been following all this for months, helping goad things along, and contribute any way I can.

    But last night I woke up in a cold sweat (literally) with a deep assurance (i.e. the unflappable belief of a new religious convert) that this will not end well. Obama will either stall indefinitely or will actually produce a sufficiently “authentic” set of documents so as to put this all to bed. My new belief is based on a simple thought: How could it end any other way?

    Today, I’m not talking about civil unrest or hordes of disappointed minions. I am not talking about the potential refusal of the courts to hear the cases. I am not talking about any legislative action to deflect from the core issue. I am talking simple MECHANICS.

    Even if SCOTUS jumped on this hard and demanded a FULL and COMPLETE investigation, how could that possibly happen. I can’t imagine a procedure or process that would guarantee the truth. I hope some wise readers here or legal experts can explain this to me.

    If what we think is true, this is the biggest, most profound, most far reaching event to ever hit any court anywhere anytime – in the history of the universe. It is totally unprecedented, in all meanings of that word. Obama has unlimited resources and motivation. Many of his resources are shady and have been known to do ANYTHING to promote a cause. If this had been addressed earlier, maybe it could have been dealt with. As it sits right now, there is too much money, too much energy, and too many expectations all invested in this. It can’t fail. It can’t be allowed to fail. It cannot be stopped. Under any circumstances. Period.

    There are unlimited people and unlimited money to throw at this problem.

    Perhaps this is what the MSM and even the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh know. The answer simply cannot come up other than one way. The concept of truth no longer has any meaning in this context. There is literally and mechanically no way to ever get the ground truth. So in a deep philosophical way, there is no truth. There is ONLY the narrative.

    Please, please. Somebody tell me I’m wrong. Walk me through the mechanics. Paint me a scenario!

  20. Anonymous says:

    What Obama “has acomplished”? That’s like saying “what Tom Cruise has accomplished” as if either was able to put on the show in a solo act. Check the credits at the end of any movie, the list for a production like Obama’s presidential campaign must be double or triple the length of any HOllywood blockbuster.
    Roses,WA

  21. Anonymous says:

    The Founders knew it as Oligarchy. That’s what the struggled to define-out in the creation of the Constitution.

    Note that our greatest sepsis is between the Senate and the Courts, and that the most fetid sepsis, by far, can be found in the verminous United States Senate.

    The Founders intended the United States Senators be chosen by their respective state legislatures. This was to prevent oligarchy from taking hold in the United States Senate. This was to ensure each state’s legislature had formal representation in the United States Government.

    Yet, this protection was stripped away which subjected United States Senate elections to the unfiltered influences of oligarchical corruption at the state level. The Founders understood the inherent corruption of the process by electing US Senators from each state’s population at large while simultaneously stripping each state’s legislature of formal representation within the United States Government.

    The amendment to do so was made in a troika of amendments which also created the Federal Income Tax and The Federal Reserve.

    That they came together as a threesome bundled in a legislative era was no accident.

    Now we have just had an election for President where both candidates are US Senators and both are NOT natural born, standing as impostors for the office of POTUS, with a resolution from the Senate calling them “natural born” to evidence the guilty knowledge of their non-eligibility by the Senate’s own hand. At some point such subterfuge rises to the level of Treason. What else do you call a conspiracy to seat an imposter into the office of POTUS?

    We need repeal the 17th Amendment and return control of our Senate to our state legislatures.

    We need to take all reasonable measures to take down the new oligarchy and the seemingly endless network of non-profits, elitists and NGOs which form a web of defacto competitive organs of governance in our modern American age.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps we will not have to suffer this as Leo’s NJ lawsuit is now before Justice Thomas.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Senator Lugar is my senior US Senator, I have asked his staff to investigate the “Natural Born” Citizenship Issue.

    I have written to Governor Sarah Palin and sent her copies of the Andy Martin letter regarding his court apprearance today in Hawaii, and other information about Barack Obama and the public’s right to know of his true background.

    I am waiting for a response from her to see if she will get involved. We will see who the real “Mavericks” are in the Republican Party.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Donofrio’s case still rests upon the idea that Obama’s ‘conflict of interest’ is from his having had dual citizenship.

    However, what is more than likely to happen, is that the justices will see that it was never Obama’s choice to have dual citizenship (which goes against those who are Naturalized citizens) and that he never swore and oath of allegiance to Kenya/UK. Because he has never demonstrated allegiance to another country besides the US as an adult, I can’t see how he could be found to have a conflict of interest.

    He was born on American soil, to a Natural Born American. He is a Natural Born citizen of these United States.

    My hope is that once these lawsuits are finished, we can go back and get focused again.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Because Obama’s father was a British citizen, Kenya being under British control at that time, Obama Jr. had dual citizenship until he became 21 or renounced that citizenship. The Constitution clearly states that anyone holding dual citizenship at the time of their birth cannot be President.
    If Obama was born in Kenya then the Constitution clearly states he is not a citizen of the United States until he becomes naturalized. What could be more plain than that. Either way he could not be President.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Article II focuses on “the status at birth” issue, and only the status at birth to set forth “natural born” status. There is only limited grandfathering extended to those who were citizens at the time the Constitution was adopted.

    The status at birth controls Article II eligibility to hold the office of POTUS.

    To hold the Office of POTUS, Article II makes it absolutely clear it is not enough to be a Citizen of the United States.

    One must be “natural born” at time of birth.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “The Constitution clearly states that anyone holding dual citizenship at the time of their birth cannot be President.”

    No where in the constitution does it specifically address having dual citizenship.

    Please don’t lead people into believing that this is otherwise true.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “Nowhere in the constitution does it specifically address having dual citizenship.”

    Why do you think the Founding Fathers included, as eligible for President, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.”???

    Citizens of the British colony “America” WERE BRITISH CITIZENS, some being born here while others were born elsewhere.

    Upon the formation of the “United States” of America as a SEPARATE COUNTRY (no longer a British colony), those colonists became American citizens. People born here to parents who had been born here had SINGULAR COUNTRY U.S. citizenship. Those who had been born elsewhere (Great Britian, France, etc.) had DUAL citizenship–U.S. AND country of birth. Constitutional writers included those people to be eligible for the Presidency as well.

    Donofrio’s lawsuit contends that a child, even if born here, who was born to a parent holding foreign citizenship, is not “natural born” if that parent’s foreign citizenship IS PASSED TO THE CHILD AT BIRTH. The child would be a DUAL CITIZEN, just as some of the colonists were, except the child wasn’t alive “at the time of the Adoption” of the American Constitution. The child doesn’t fall into either of the two categories specified for the Presidency, so he’s ineligible.

    What also hasn’t been addressed is the “natural born” status of a child born to two American citizens on foreign soil, IF the country of birth doesn’t bestow its citizenship on the child at birth. Since McCain is included in Donofrio’s lawsuit, Panama must have allowed dual citizenship at the time of McCain’s birth.

    A post on Donofrio’s website from a student of history who researched the matter, said he only found one reference to the term “natural born” in colonial writings. In a letter from John Jay to George Washington, Jay insisted the Commander in Chief of the military (President Washington) had “singular loyalty” to the United States, and therefore must be “natural born”.

    That would support a ‘singular citizenship’ meaning or interpretation of the Constitutional term “natural born.”

  29. Anonymous says:

    Nobody I know under the age of 30 has ever really expressed interest or cares about the constituion. I am 27 and I have brought this issue up with my peers and even people older than me. I am from Boston, so I live in a very liberal area. The most common response is, “who CARES about the constituion!?”

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