Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The message is the message

Since occupying the White House, Barack Obama has hosted fifteen town-hall meetings; appeared in more than 800 images on the White House Flickr photo-stream; and held four prime-time press conferences, the same number held by George W. Bush in his entire presidency.

Four in six months may be out of the ordinary, but four in eight years is ridiculous.

It’s gotten to the point where one expects to see and hear from him every day. He’s in the information business almost as much as the policy business. “This is president as content provider,” says Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman and adviser to George W. Bush. “It’s like when Rosie O’Donnell had a show and a magazine and a blog.”

Gillespie hardly seems an appropriate person to quote at this juncture, and for this purpose.

“You don’t have to be on television every minute of every day,” cracked Bill Maher recently. “You’re the president, not a rerun of Law & Order.”

This from the schmuck who called Sonia Sotomayor Sonya Sotomeyer. What the hell qualifies him to comment? He's a joke, er, a comic.

“If you poll a question about a policy in an anodyne, sterile way, you’ll often find that Barack Obama’s positions are inversely proportional to his popularity,” notes Gillespie. “But if you say it’s President Obama’s policy, it pulls the numbers right back up.”

The White House is exquisitely aware of this advantage.

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