Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Barack Obama’s ‘View’ felt more like a rerun

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So much was made of President Barack Obama’s inaugural visit to “The View” — the first on-stage visit to a daytime talk show by a sitting president.

The fine print notes that this was Obama’s third visit to the program — Obama had thought it was the second, but realized his error. And we shouldn’t be surprised about this trend by Obama.

Barack Obama is an appropriate pick for being the first president to be on a daytime talk show geared toward a female audience, since Obama’s world is female-centric.

Obama grew up as a child with a single mother and a half-sister. Obama has always spoken of being married to a strong woman. And Obama is the father of two girls.

So being surrounded on stage, being the only male amongst 5 women, is territory where Obama is comfortable.

And I would even say that George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, for their various background experiences, also fall in this category.

The good news for Obama was that he was comfortable in this environment, and he showed off his combination of cool and milquetoast. Is this really the scary vision that justifies the Obama/Hitler signs carried by the teabaggers?

But a lot of the discussion was hashed in June 2009, December 2009, and June 2010. The conversation felt like a rerun. There wasn’t a whole lot new, except for Afghanistan, but even that felt like old copy.

One political note: Obama got a question asking why he didn’t do enough with the stimulus. Interestingly, the question wasn’t from Joy Behar (an Obama fan) but Elizabeth Hasselback (not an Obama fan). We aren’t surprised that Hassleback asked the question, but those from her political stripe worked really hard to weaken the stimulus and not extend unemployment benefits.

This could be a bipartisan question — Behar and Hasselback — to Obama that would have been enlightening. Behar’s only serious question dealt with all that the Obama Administration has done, yet hasn’t got sufficient credit. Regular readers gather that I’m not a fan of Hasselback — for way more than just a political view. But her question was better than the one from Behar, though both questions were important.

Watching Hasselback get upset about “saved jobs” would have been more impressive if she asked it a year ago. Even the GOP’s attack on that is about a year old.

Being a daytime talk show means you can’t be serious all the time. So Obama had to be “mocked” for his lack of pop culture knowledge. And just for the record, I didn’t know who “Snooki” was nor did I care even after I did the research. Interesting that we wonder how the president is going to solve tough problems, yet he should have time to waste on a useless reality TV show.

In watching this episode, you had to feel sorry for George Herbert Walker Bush. This is a president that wouldn’t have lasted too long in this modern TV world. Bush was clueless about the price scanners in a grocery store; and because of that, no president will ever be seen in a grocery store anymore. Politics aside, Bush was of a different generation — McCain fell into this somewhat of his own doing. And that time goes into a box, never to be opened again except for warmth of past memories.

Obama and the future presidents will have to be tech savvy and media aware. Obama communicates well when he takes control of the situation — just as he did on “The View” — but that makes his administration’s decisions to not have too many press conferences all the more bewildering.

George Walker Bush wasn’t good with the whole words thing, and President Obama is a whole lot better with words. Yet Obama’s handlers have kept him too protected.

Barack Obama is the best asset Barack Obama has to make his administration’s case. We could use more of that on television, not just because he is one particular political party. It’s true because Barack Obama is President of the United States, and in this modern era, Obama needs to be seen more regularly. The true test includes a visit to a daytime talk show, but one voice is still waiting for a chance to sit down with a sitting president: Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.”

If the Obama team is smart, Stewart will get that chance before the midterm elections.


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