It’s not often I get to say, “I was right”.
Generally my sports predictions fall flat, my casino trips are more like charitable contributions to Harvey’s, and my political punditry puts me in excellent company; people who have no idea what we’re talking about.
However, I was right about President Obama. It took longer than I predicted (or, to be perfectly honest, longer than I hoped), but the media has finally turned against the POTUS. And like a herd of thirsty elephants stomping toward a watering hole, the media does not seem to have an interest in changing directions.
To be clear, my observation was that President Obama, more than any President of which I’m aware, depends on his media image to dictate his success. President Obama has been loathe to collaborate with Congress (or anyone else) to ensure the success of his agenda items. Instead, when he needs to push for <anything>, he stands in front of a camera in order to make what he calculates are populist appeals. Okay, okay; he stands in front of a teleprompter in front of a camera in order to make what he calculates are populist appeals.
The media, for their part, have been arguably complicit, possibly sycophantic, and certainly sympathetic in fashioning President Obama into a full blown cult of personality. His media image could be likened to Britney Spears (before her fall from grace) or Lindsay Lohan (prior to her “nosedive” into infamy) or Tiger Woods (when he was more a golfer and less a punchline) or even the Kardashian wedding to…uh…that one NBA guy (all 72 days worth).
In case the reader missed the blatant foreshadowing, the core of my prediction found its inception in the parentheticals above. The media tend to fixate on celebrity-du-jour like hyenas fixate on a wounded zebra. In the end, it seems to me the result is the same in both cases; maniacal laughter and a pile of bones.
I wish I could say it was a fond memory of Sir Isaac Newton’s gravitational observation, “what goes up must come down” that led to my prediction, but I’m not nearly that sophisticated. It was a flood of memories from National Enquirer headlines in grocery store checkout lines. Today, celebrity X is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Tomorrow, celebrity X is at the beach looking a bit too chubby in a swimsuit. Next week celebrity X is a drug-fueled train wreck; complete with tour cancellations, mug shots, and sometimes even cell phone images or an addled, rambling voice message or two.
To be clear, I do not think it is the case that media attention causes the downfall of celebrities. But it has been my observation that people who depend on tabloid media for the success of their endeavors invariably find themselves personally and professionally damaged by media scrutiny.
In short, my observation is that the President and Mrs. Obama have enjoyed celebrity treatment from a fawning press; to the point where the POTUS wasn’t treated merely as a politician, a world leader, or even as the most powerful political leader on earth. Rather, media treatment of President Obama has been more akin to acolytes worshiping a demigod. Anyone who puts that much expectation into a single person is setting the stage for massive disappointment.
Accordingly, my prediction was that President Obama’s media arc would follow the same trajectory as nearly every other celebrity. Something would change; go sideways. When that happened the President would find himself on the flip side of the tabloid media frenzy and he would be savaged with as much zeal as he was formerly lauded.
Benghazi was bad. Incredibly, tragically bad.
The IRS scandal didn’t get anyone killed, but was equally distasteful.
However, the abuses of the Associated Press at the hands of the Obama Department of Justice seem to have shifted the tectonic plates under the President’s feet. The initial quake registered nationwide on the Richter scale, and every indication is that there will be further, sustained, and likely larger aftershocks.
President Obama and his entire administration seem to have abused the incredibly good will of a sympathetic press. At present, that mainstream press (referred to here, very purposefully, in the collective) is finally circling back to give proper scrutiny to the inconsistencies in assertions the Obama administration has made for the past year. Those inconsistencies are numerous and substantial, and the President’s position will almost certainly continue to degrade.
I believe it would have been better for the nation if these things came to light prior to the election of 2012. It would have been cleaner to transition via regular election to a new administration. There would have been less national damage and certainly much less national embarrassment. But as mama used to say, “better late than never”.
I won’t be offering Super Bowl predictions, racing up to Lake Tahoe to gamble, or submitting my resume as a Political Commentator to the National Review anytime soon. History dictates that for me all those courses of action are pure folly. But I’m pretty sure I nailed this one.
See you at the grocery store, Mr. Obama.