President Obama was recently criticized by some politicians and pundits for appearing on The View, the first time ever a sitting president has been interviewed on day time TV. I watched the show and found it very entertaining and enlightening.
These critics (including Democratic Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania) have stated that daytime television is beneath our leader. I disagree. I say "bravo" to the President for reaching out to a whole demographic of Americans (stay at home moms, unemployed people, night workers, students out of school for the summer) who may not watch prime time TV.
I'm not saying these viewers have never heard or seen the President. You would have to be living in a cave to not have experienced some form of communication from President Obama. While President Ronald Reagan has been called "The Great Communicator", I feel President Obama is "The Communicator in Chief."
Some have accused Obama of "overexposure" to the press. Not I, for I believe while he is the most media accessible President of the 20th and 21st centuries, that is a good thing in this era of 24/7 news and cable information. And it is a sharp contrast from our former Commander in Chief who has been called the "most isolated president in modern history." President George W. Bush barely stuck his head out of the Oval Office for eight years, only venturing out for the occasional press conference, State of the Union address, and photo ops with visiting Heads of States.
Not a day goes by without one being able to see or hear our President giving a speech somewhere, leading a town hall meeting, attending an international summit, or appearing on a major news show or political cable program (including Fox News with Bret Baier). He is even on the Internet explaining the new Health Care Legislation and how to benefit from it.
He has also in the past year made appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman, both ratings hits with entertaining dialogue. While some oppose his policies, none can argue his likeability and charisma.
On The View Joy Behar asked President Obama why he hasn't addressed the partisan attacks and sufficiently quelled his GOP critics and he answered back: "That's your job." Amusing comeback but it is a good question. Even with all of his media blitzes there is a lot of misinformation out there.
The Republicans do a good job as the opposition by staying on message and being united in their criticisms of the Administration. And that is because they use this 24/7 media well (particularly Fox News and talk radio) which is why I welcome the President's media presence everywhere.
Some of the myths and untruths that have been perpetuated include: death panels regarding the Health Care bill, accusing the President of raising taxes when he actually gave Americans a tax cut in the Recovery Act, complaining about unemployment compensation raising the deficit when it actually helps the economy by providing unemployed workers funds to support their families, casting doubts on Obama's claim of saving jobs which were being lost in record numbers before he took office, blaming the deficit on Obama when it was initially created by Bush leading to our Great Recession, blaming the BP Gulf oil spill on Obama when it was Bush that de-regulated the industry, blaming the bank bail out (TARP) on Obama when it was Bush's initiative, reporting distortions about the Arizona border (exposed by Rachel Maddow), and lies about Shirley Sherrod, an African American employee forced to resign from the Obama Administration for being accused of racism which were later found to be untrue and taken out of context.
In response to Joy Behar's question, President Obama also said there is a time to stop campaigning and start governing. This is true hypothetically but not realistically. A politician must know that you can never stop campaigning, even when you are in office. The nature of politics is that everything you say and do can and will be used against you. Especially in this day and age of 24/7 news cycles, youtube, and camera phones.
Therefore, we as citizens must be responsible to call out the hypocrisy and lies whenever they are dumped on the American psyche, no matter which side of the political spectrum they are coming from.
The President as First Politician even with all of his press appearances can only do so much to set the record straight. I believe his policies are working and we would be much worse off right now if he were not in office. Unemployment is always the last puzzle piece to be put in place when recovering from a recession. This was true when Ronald Reagan tackled his inherited recession, and Bill Clinton reversed his. Neither of those economic hardships were as severe as what President Obama inherited.
So while times are tough, we have to give his recovery plan a chance to work while knowing things are turning around and change is happening for the better. He and Congress have passed more landmark legislation in nineteen months, even without any support from the Republican opposition, than his predecessor did in eight years.
While things are far from perfect, I trust what President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are doing far more than I would the "just say no" GOP that dug us into the ditch we are now digging out from.
It is somehow comforting knowing that I can turn on the TV or radio or the Internet and see and hear that our President is on the job 24/7. President Obama, keep on keeping on.
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