As I watched President Obama smirk, look down, not engage Mitt Romney, and then give long, meandering responses to Governor Romney’s quite direct statements, I thought, “Not cool. Not cool at all.”
Obama’s embrace of pop culture has been shrewd politics. After all, far more people watch entertainment television than ever watch the Sunday shows, the interviewers generally adore him, and he can avoid substance. Any of us can look good when basking in adulation. But here’s the catch: In pop culture, you’re cool until, well, you’re not. And when you’re “out” that same culture can be every bit as merciless as it was adoring.
This morning, millions of casual political observers are awakening to a new reality. Mr. “I got this” (2008 reference) stumbled and meandered and smirked. The rich guy looked like a president, and the actual president looked angry and unsure. To be clear, I don’t think pop culture has turned on Obama quite yet (and it may not if he comes back strong in the next debate) but for the first time, he’s in a danger zone. Because if there’s one thing our pop culture likes less than a conservative — it’s a loser.
(Disclosure: I’m the co-founder of Evangelicals for Mitt).