Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Regiments of poodles

"It's very hard for me to swallow that one. First of all I've got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration," said Obama.

Harwood asked whether he meant Fox News. Obama didn't directly answer, but continued:

"That's a pretty big megaphone. You'd be hard pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front," the president said.

I get this weird feeling from Obama. Its hard to define exactly, but it reminds me of the extremely adept terminators in the "Sarah Connor Chronicles"; they are very very good at mimicking human beings, but never exactly right. Its the difference between what a machine thinks a human is like, and what a human is like. President Obama is very very similar to a mainstream American politician- he gives a fantastic rendition. But its play-acting, and not perfect at that.

For good or ill, President Bush was not acting- what you saw was real. Brash, arrogant at times, not particularly good at expressing what was in and on his mind, but with a broad and concrete understanding of what was going on and what his role in the world as President was. He was very well schooled not just in his job description in the constitution, but the other rules by which Presidents work, which are cultural.

President Obama has none of that knowledge- listen to him talk about the media. No previous President has given a running commentary on which TV stations love them and which don't. There was a good reason for it too. The President has been elected- he steps up to a higher plane at that point, and leaves the daily toil of political slanging and spinning to minions. It is inappropriate to his station to get down in the trenches and get all bloody and muddy.

And in particular, getting personal about the fourth estate is very dangerous ground for a President. There is no formal role for the press in the US Constitution. It isn't mentioned at all. But everyone who has ever taken a passing interesting in public policy and governance understands the absolutely essential services it provides (well, should provide). It shows and tells what government is doing, it explains matters of public importance, it investigates corrupt and ineffective politicians and it analyses public policy. Those are essential services. Presidents throw spanners into those complicated and delicate works at their peril.

Insert the word 'only' into that first sentance: "...I've only got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration". Yup, and about eight that slavishly report my every word and deed with loving encomiums... but I obsess about that one pariah, that one heretic, that one doubter of the true faith... will no one rid me of this Turbulent fox?

"That's a pretty big megaphone. You'd be hard pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front," the president said.' A bare few months ago, President Bush could have spent a large part of his day trawling through the TV channels and still not found a SINGLE ONE that had a positive story about him, including FOX. How much time did he spend whingeing about it? None that we know of. He never complained publicly once.

Not only is President Obama a narcissist, he is a narcissist who cut his teeth in Chicago. That is a town renowned for its dirty, no-holds-barred politics. I believe his instincts are telling him right now, destroy FOX news. Smash it, work out some ploy or gambit to wreck it, make it go bankrupt, make it go away for ever. President Obama didn't grow up with the culture of respect for the written rules and the unwritten cultural rules governing political life in America. Nothing in his public life indicates that he has taken those on board at any point. His campaign for President was possibly the most cynical, ruthless and disgusting in the history of American politics. The hysterical misogynistic dogpile trashing of Sarah Palin, a pleasant heartland American woman, was possibly the lowest point in US politics since Nixons after-dark break-ins; but is not nearly as disturbing as his use of the same tactics against Hilary Clinton, supposedly in the same ideological camp.

ABC news are going to spend a whole day of their output puffing the Obama Socialist Health Care plan. When you have regiments of poodles like that, it must be difficult when a lone solitary fly sits in your ointment.

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