So, I've gotten a few emails today from people soliciting my comment over this story in the Politico by Andie Collier that goes to extremes to elucidate the...uhm -- psychology, I guess? -- of President Obama's touching people with his hands, and what this tactile contact Means For America. So, okay, here you go! I think it's pretty damned kooky to go on and on about it, for two pages.
This whole story began last week, when Obama was strolling through the White House press area, hoping to have a casual meet and greet with the reporters. The Politico's Jonathan Martin asked him a substantive question -- and a non-frivolous one -- to which Obama responded by asking him to chill and wait for the press conference. I've got no real problem with reporters asking the President questions, and I've got no big problem with reporters taking their subjects out of their comfort zone to be probative, and I said so. Lots of people disagreed with me, and that's okay. It was still a nice little moment of White House interplay.
But, the Politico, you see, she hungers. Hungers for exclusives! And now, one of their own has Become The Story. And it's A Story Only The Politico Can Bring You. So it gets this crazy, over-the-top fleshing out, because this Politico, she never sleeps, and she must be satiated!
Honestly, though, at some point, everyone involved with this story is going to look back and conclude that yes, this part (about another Obama touch) was a little bit insane:
"[Obama] was castigating him. There's no other way to put it," says Joe Navarro, a former FBI special agent specializing in nonverbal communication. "Biden got it immediately," he adds. "It looked like a little, subtle touch, but you could immediately see that Vice President Biden was contrite after that."
A proud day for all of those who toil, anonymously, at the FBI's Division Of Non-Verbal Communication Analysis.
Anyway, you can bet your sweet bippy that if the Politico can get any mileage out of this story, we'll be hearing more on the subject. You can basically pencil in an "Obama Touched Him: A Year Later" story for next January. It will be a compelling think-piece about how Obama's fingertips influence The Way We Live Today, in which Jonathan Martin will be referred to, coyly, as "a Politico reporter." In the meantime, I have calls out to haircare specialists inquiring after why Martin refuses to grow sideburns, and what This Says About The Media, and will run with the exclusive story as soon as I find an editor here idiotic enough to greenlight it.