The Corner

Stars Don’t Shine in Sunlight

Charles Krauthammer makes a good point:

The president retreated to a demand that any bill he sign be revenue-neutral. But that’s classic misdirection: If the fierce urgency of health-care reform is to radically reduce costs that are producing budget-destroying deficits, revenue neutrality (by definition) leaves us on precisely the same path to insolvency that Obama himself declares unsustainable.

The question is whether Obama is so cool he can get away with ever more self-contradictory nonsense. Even fantasy has to conform to a basic internal reality (see Jonah on the new Star Wars*). The 49% poll number, and the steep ratings decline for his ever-less-compelling press conferences suggest the Obama unreality show will have trouble keeping up the cool. From the New York Times:

In the past four days, Mr. Obama gave “exclusive” interviews to Jim Lehrer of PBS, Katie Couric of CBS and Meredith Vieira of NBC. He gave two interviews to The Washington Post on one day, one to the editorial page editor and one to news reporters. He held a conference call with bloggers. His hourlong session in the East Room on Wednesday night was his second news conference of the day. And on Thursday, he invited Terry Moran of ABC to spend the day with him for a “Nightline” special.

The all-Obama, all-the-time carpet bombing of the news media represents a strategy by a White House seeking to deploy its most effective asset in service of its goals, none more critical now than health care legislation. But longtime Washington hands warn that saturation coverage can diminish the power of his voice and lose public attention.

No real star goes in for over-exposure, because you’re devaluing your own currency. (And that’s before you add in off-prompter missteps like the Professor Gates answer.) Bagehot’s famous line on the British monarchy is that you mustn’t let daylight in upon magic. Obama’s magic is fading because it can’t survive contact with daylight.

[*CORRECTION: Whoops, Star Trek, not Wars. It happens: You start the day and try to beam up only to find you’ve stabilized your rear deflectors instead.]

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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