Five. Five Sunday talk shows. And not to mention the friendly confines of the Late Show with David Letterman tonight. President Barack Obama is certainly on a roll — or, at the very least, on the television. Constantly. More than Oprah, Law & Order and the Slap-Chop combined. But why?
From the look of the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, the president’s poll numbers have not received even the slightest bump upwards from his Sunday morning media blitz, so Operation Television Saturation likely isn’t about working to increase Obama’s approval rating.
From the look of issue-specific polling on the health care reform proposals currently being sold by the president and his Democrats, most Americans feel that deficit reduction and not health care should be the real priority, so White House whoring to the mainstream press probably isn’t about ginning up support for the president’s planned reforms. And, heck, the Democrats can pass any bill they want, anyway.
Call me a cynic, but I figure that the president’s on-air menage a cinq was more about Obama himself, and less about any specific issue or message. It is becoming abundantly clear that this president views speechifying, not principled leadership and decision-making, as the hallmark of governance, and in the president’s mind Sunday likely came off as a masterstroke.
To be solipsistic (to bring back perhaps my favorite word to describe Barack Obama) is to believe that little if anything else exists or is relevant beyond what is in a person’s own mind. In Barack Obama’s mind, delivering a 45-minute partisan lecture filled with half-truths and wholesome rhetoric is as important as anything else in his presidency. Obama has gone through his entire life able to talk his way into and out of anything, including the Oval Office, and that his rhetoric fails to resonate with a growing number of Americans is impossible for him to understand. His solution: talk more. Hence the speech to the joint session of Congress. Hence the speech to our schoolchildren on education. Hence the speech to the hated capitalists on Wall Street. Hence the 60 Minutes interview. And hence the appearance on not one, not two, but five Sunday morning talk shows yesterday.
For me, it makes me smile. He’s like a pre-teen trying to lie his way out of a lie, or my mid-potty-training three-year-old who says with a shocked look on her face, “I did not pee,” when clearly she’s in need of a new pair of underpants. It’s a little bit endearing. It’s a little bit sad. It’s a whole lot frustrating. But it’s kind of fun to watch.