There is much talk about President Obama’s “likability.” Supposedly 60% of Americans think Obama is the more likable of the two candidates, with 30% saying Mitt Romney. The other 10%, as in most polls, barely know what state they live in.
Who cares? I don’t have to like or be in love with my president. In fact, it’s better if I am not. I think the framers would have felt that way, too. They realized that the cult of personality could get countries in a lot of trouble. George Washington could easily have used his popularity to remain president until he died. He rejected that. He was right.
Think back to the 19th century or even early 20th century. Most Americans probably rarely gave a thought to their president. They had too much to do: build a country, provide for their family, stay alive. Most never even heard the voice of their president. He could have been fat (some of them were), had an irritating voice, delivered a speech poorly and it wouldn’t have mattered. Results mattered.
Now we are forced to see presidents evaluated every day by a ravenous media. They filter everything we know about him. With Clinton he was thrust in our face every time we turned on the television. It was almost to a stalker level.
With Bush, he was put under the microscope for every malaprop or stumble. Nevermind he kept us safe after 9/11. He didn’t pronounce nuclear properly and that’s what really showed who he was.
Now we get Obama filtered through the media’s lens. He is always debonair, smiling, glad handing, dancing, singing, talking sports – whatever might appeal to you. Meanwhile the country is doing a nosedive. Still, according to the media polls, we like him.
Obama even takes his act on the road so more of us have to see him. We’re the protagonist in “A Clockwork Orange.” Our eyelids are metaphorically taped open so we don’t miss a minute of seeing his “greatness.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to live days without once thinking about whether the president was going to spoil your life with more regulations or get in your face with his? It’s a fantasy of mine. I want Calvin Coolidge back. “Silent Cal” didn’t thrust himself upon the American people at every opportunity. The more I learn about him, the more I like him. He got to the business of America – business – and let the American people be Americans.
Thanks to the media, that day will probably never recur. What a shame.