The Corner

A Somewhat Embarrassing Spectacle

The latest Obama throng abroad is not about liberal bias, at least entirely, but more something like an embarrassing retrogression to teen-age Beatle-mania. After all, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry — or even Clinton — never garnered such campaign attention. Even past liberal media darlings, who similarly posed as charismatic celebrity intellectuals — JFK, Eugene McCarthy, and Gary Hart–didn’t either. It is not even about race. A moderate-conservative Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice as candidate would be conducting a so-so quiet inspection tour. A liberal-leftist like Jackson, or Harold Ford, would have little resonance.

The distinction again is that Obama appeals to the gullible and puerile as a sort of James Dean candidate. And thus he is not to be cross-examined, but instead free to shun interviews and clarifications, and prone to avoid reporters who might be less than adulatory — the normal stuff that so irritates the supposedly sensitive press that has now gone brain-dead.

What is fascinating about the tingly-leg press is that they are exhibiting the very symptoms of arrested development and star-struck immaturity that they always accuse America in toto of suffering. The usual critique of the elite media is that we are a nation of mindless followers, who go from one fad to another, and value looks, youth, and pizzazz over substance.

But the current spectacle suggests something worse — that the press who claims they know better and are more sophisticated are, in fact, far more infantile than most Americans, and essentially Access Hollywood, People Magazine, and the National Enquirer dressed up with network logos and NY-DC bylines.

After all, few conservatives ever said that Reagan made their leg tingle. Had a candidate Reagan (remember the fury at the contrived Michael Deaver photo-ops) or even Clinton (remember the irritation at the run-on speeches and habitually late/missed appointments) created his own seal, lobbied to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, or run a campaign tour overseas as if it were a Presidential summit (replete with Freudian slips about already being coronated President), or made Bush’s nuclear gaffes seem minor in comparison, he would have been crucified by self-righteous haughty reporters. If one were to take Obama’s recent deer-in-the-headlights comments, stutters, pauses, contortions, and false starts when asked about the surge, and put them into the mouth of Dan Quayle, well, case rested…

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