You make a grown man cry

I know I talk about David Broder too much, but this reads like parody:

It took almost a full hour of Barack Obama’s news conference for the professor-president to come down from his lecture platform and show the human reaction to the gulf oil leak accident that people had been looking for.

[….]

Politicians know this. A few hours after Obama addressed the media on Thursday, CNN showed a news clip of Rep. Charlie Melancon, a Louisiana legislator who was talking at a hearing about the impact the oily pollution was having on the wetlands of his native state — and had to stop because he was weeping so hard. There was instant empathy.

[….]

“When I woke up this morning and I’m shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, ‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?'”

[….]

What he says next is so simple and personal that its authenticity cannot be doubted: “I grew up in Hawaii, where the ocean is sacred.” And back to the shared reality: “And when you see birds flying around with oil all over their feathers and turtles dying” — as every viewer now has had to watch — “that doesn’t just speak to the immediate economic consequences of this; this speaks to, you know, how are we caring for this incredible bounty that we have.”

No, there is no way that a president could fabricate a story about something a family member told him. It simply is not possible. It can’t be done. When a president mention some silly thing his daughter supposedly said to him, we must take him at his word. It is that simple.

And all that mumbo jumbo about how many gallons of oil, and how the spill might be stopped, and what the damage to the environment might be, it’s all just academic mumbo jumbo. What matters is whether you cry about it and what cute things your children say to you about it.

I’m an Obot, so I’m glad that at least one Villager liked the story Obama told about his daughter. But all of this takes place in a fantasy world, one where Obama might be able to make it all right with his eleven-dimensional executive powers or by pounding his desk and saying “stop the damn oil spill”.

I just don’t see how we can have an effective political system when teardrops and children’s stories matter more than years of mismanagement at the Minerals Management Service.

Update. Charles Blow brings even more stupid.

86 replies
  1. 1
    CanadaGoose says:

    This reminds me of the press howling at Queen Elizabeth: “Show us you care, Ma’am” at the time of the death of Princess Diana.
    Never mind that centuries of tradition and training required the royal family to grieve privately. The masses had been raised on Jerry-Springerism and expected the family to tear their hair and rend their garments — the more publicly the better.
    What good would it do for the President to stamp his foot and rave? But the Great Public Maw demands that he “show us you care, sir.”
    It makes me quite sick.

  2. 2
    Mark S. says:

    I want a president who breaks down and cries during press conferences. Maybe also one who gets so overwhelmed at times his advisors have to coax him out from under his desk. Fuck this keeping a cool head bullshit. I want someone just as neurotic as me.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    @CanadaGoose:

    Very interesting comparison. I like it a lot.

  4. 4
    ruemara says:

    Olbermann pulled this today. It was hard not to resist the urge to knock myself unconscious in protest.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    @ruemara: Olbermann has been descending into histrionics at the drop of a hat lately. I’m only hoping this turns more people onto Rachel Maddow, who is much better than he is and is about the coolest cucumber there is on the MSM today.

  6. 6
    Mike G says:

    Because the Bush approach of wanting-things-to-happen-really-badly, repeating empty rhetoric about “resolve” backed by magical thinking, junk ideology and a comic-book retarded understanding of the world, worked so very well for the press whores, if disastrously for those of us who actually want a government that handles problems effectively as opposed to a PR operation.

    This is how we end up with stupid dumbfucks in the presidency like Chimp and Reagan, because of all the needy, infantile authoritarian-followers out there who want a strong daddy to tell them a story and make them believe everything is all right.

  7. 7
    Ailuridae says:

    I was just about to post that Chuck Blow piece. Incredibly disappointing. I’m guessing he’ll be on Morning Joe on Monday or Tuesday.

  8. 8
    Comrade Luke says:

    Is there any question that if the president were to show emotion they’d be criticizing him for not acting presidential? Same goes for the queen btw.

    It’s all just so stupid.

  9. 9
    Fern says:

    @Yutsano Lately? I’ve found him to be completely unwatchable for the last couple of years or so.

  10. 10
    DougJ says:

    @Mike G:

    And don’t forget that when they turned against Bush (they did near the end), it was because he seemed detached. Not because he’s let Brownie and Cheney run things for six years.

  11. 11
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Yutsano:

    Olbermann has been descending into histrionics at the drop of a hat lately

    You know what’s funny? I stopped watching him after the election because I thought he was too over the top. Since then every few months since then someone posts something like this here.

    :)

  12. 12
    Fern says:

    I don’t get this expectation that the president should get all emotional. I cannot tell you how comforting I find it that the man remains calm and collected under very difficult circumstances.

    And it is not that he does not feel – if you watch him carefully you can see this – just that he does not indulge in public histrionics.

  13. 13
    Mark S. says:

    Blow:

    Maybe he would have known if earlier he had not been in the Rose Garden taking pictures with Coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke men’s basketball team. This is the same coach who famously bristled that Obama should stick to fixing the economy after the president picked North Carolina to win the N.C.A.A. championship in 2009. Maybe the coach could have reminded him that he still had more important things to do.

    1. North Carolina did win the championship that year.

    2. Imagine the butthurt if Obama blew off meeting the Duke basketball team.

    3. I’m confused, empathy is terrible for judges but great for presidents, who are apparently supposed to start crying like Jimmy Swaggart confessing to sleeping with hookers.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @Fern: @Comrade Luke: Sure rub it in you two. I don’t really go out of my way to watch him as it is (I’m too much of a Food Network addict) but when I do occasionally catch him it always strikes me as how the mighty have fallen or something like that.

  15. 15
    Little Boots says:

    David Broder, for your and every other American’s sake, please retire. Please just stop.

  16. 16
    Alex K says:

    Can I just say this sounds like a scene from a movie featuring Nicolas Cage as the POTUS? And after his daughter asks that question, Cage turns around and he’s got that knit-brow intensity look on and says “Don’t worry, baby doll. Daddy will plug as many holes as you want him to.”

    Cash cow waiting to happen, right here, people.

  17. 17
    Little Boots says:

    It’s actually kind of sad. Has anyone here gone back about, oh, 20 years, and looked at his stuff. It’s pretty good. Then somebody called him a Dean, and suddenly, godawful mush. Sad.

  18. 18
    Alex K says:

    I would like to say, however, that public emotional reactions are not inherently bad. I think they can serve their purpose. What our media buddies seem to be doing, however, is putting emotion on a level with actual problem-solving and hard work, which is a no-no.

  19. 19
    tofubo says:

    In BP, safety is the responsibility of individuals working together as part of a team. There are many people to help us as individuals, such as masters, fleet safety training officers and workshop trainers. We also have the necessary procedures and practices designed to lessen the risk of a safety incident.

    Ultimately, though, safety is down to each one of us at whatever level we work. Today we are building an organization in which every single person in BP Shipping is empowered and entitled to call attention
    to any unsafe act, to stop working until the situation is resolved and to do so without fear of any adverse consequences.

    as said by the, then, BP Global HSSE and ER Director – of course now – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Sylvia V. Baca

    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/b.....eShips.pdf

  20. 20
    Belvoir says:

    In another section of the Ethertubes, a commenter I like wrote a smart impassioned post I agreed with. But he ended it with that quote from Malia, an 11 year old girl. It disgusted me to see rightwingers harping on it- so glad Beck apologized- and it disgusted me too that a fellow DFH even brought that up, and told him so, pretty directly.

    It’s an environmental catastrophe of tragic and unimaginable proportions. But can we please keep the President’s 11-year-old daughter out of it? I told the dude, thanks for repeating what right-wingers have been jabbering about, fatly, since yesterday. Uncool.

    Someone tell Obama not to drag his kids into geopolitical situations, too. Because jerks on the left and the right are going to abuse that comment you thought was just cute. Seriously, leave the kids out of it. Fux sake.

  21. 21
    Ailuridae says:

    @DougJ:

    I’m as big a believer in the power of personality politics as anyone but do you actually believed they turned against Bush (and I am not even sure they did till early 2008) because he seemed detached?

    The tipping point to me always seemed the FEMA response to Katrina which, again, they underreported. And they still never built it into a larger narrative about conservatism’s inevitable failure to govern.

  22. 22
    Little Boots says:

    True, Alex, sometimes the emotional reaction is the only one that makes the slightest logical sense. Sorry, Spock, but sometimes logic and emotion are as one. And when we lose sight of that, we start to get confused, which leads to the kind of problem you’re talking about.

  23. 23
    DougJ says:

    @Ailuridae:

    I don’t know if that’s why they turned against him per se but they brought it up all the time, yes.

  24. 24
    tofubo says:

    drilling in the sea

    horses in montana

    http://www.thecloudfoundation......ster-52810

    it’s all interior

  25. 25
    cat48 says:

    As for the first trait, he was superb as always. I think amassing facts is his idea of being warm and fuzzy.

    Facts make me warm and fuzzy too, Mr. Blow. It’s very sad that this is a way a president succeeds by being empathetic. I don’t recall ever, ever wishing a president would be more emotional. Just give me facts and reasonable behavior. I don’t need a Daddy, just a competent president.

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Little Boots:

    It’s actually kind of sad. Has anyone here gone back about, oh, 20 years, and looked at his stuff. It’s pretty good. Then somebody called him a Dean,

    I started reading Broder regularly during the Impeachment, and I think he’s gone steadily downhill (and he wasn’t that great) since then. He’s an Eisenhower Republican and Beltway Insider (this is our place, and he wrecked it) who can’t admit either of those things, or that both of his tribes have descended into batshit crazy and utter uselessness, respectively.

  27. 27
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Fern: Double down on what you say. After W.’s tilting at windmills, it’s a relief to have a grown-up in charge. I would also agree that Obama does feel things–he just doesn’t emote all over the goddamn place.

    @cat48: Yes! It’s so ironic that the very people who want government to be out of everything and collegiate and so-bipartisan are the same ones who want Obama to weep, rend his garments, and gnash his teeth. No! I want to know what’s happening. How Obama deals with his emotions on the issue is his business.

  28. 28
    Scott P. says:

    Isn’t Broder one of the hacks who came up with the story of Edmund Muskie breaking into tears during his presidential run, thus dooming his campaign?

  29. 29
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Scott P.: You asked, and the Google responded. In Broder’s own words (and not badly written). It’s clear he struggles with that very story.

  30. 30
    mai naem says:

    I was watching the presser and when Obama mentioned Malia my immediate thought was – bullshit – they had just added it in to make him sound like he understood – he got it. I have a niece who’s eleven and there is no way she would use the term “plug the hole up” and she’s not even the president’s daughter with constant discussion of this stuff. This isn’t the first time Obama’s used his kids like this. I personally couldn’t care less about it, but I just wonder when the lamestream media is going to pull the Amy Carter/Jimmy Carter bit on Obama.

  31. 31
    Quiddity says:

    The reason Broder was impressed with Malia’s question wasn’t because of cornball emotionality, but because her question oozed the bipartisan spirit that Broder loves so well.

    Also, check this out:

    http://twitter.com/BPGlobalPR

  32. 32
    Yutsano says:

    @Quiddity: Mmm…I love the taste of good snark late at night.

  33. 33
    Riggsveda says:

    First, remember all the sexist piling-on during the presidential primary campaign when Hilary choked up while expressing her reasons for running for office? The autopsy artists spent weeks arguing whether she was bullshitting for effect or simply too unstable to be President. But now Broder’s OK with that and wants to see more of the same?

    Second, showing empathy is a socialist attack on real America.

    Third, fuck him.

  34. 34
    Restrung says:

    If I had two tween daughters, I sure as fuck would blame them for this oil mess. If I could. Kucinich’s wife too.

  35. 35
    Maude says:

    The msm wants the emo of the commercials about the woman who has been in an accident and the dispatcher comforts her. I can’t spell the name, is it onstar?
    I don’t have a car, so what do I know.
    The bit about Malia is funny because everyone had been yelling about Obama not stopping the oil leak and whay hadn’t he.
    Obama is a Democrat and Clinton did the emotional routine. Clinton was a Democrat and so, Democrats are all emo. Also.

  36. 36
    Restrung says:

    oh, woops. It’s Albert Gore’s fault. whatta dummass.

    http://www.thecypresstimes.com.....TORY/29819

    It took Glenn Beck to put it all together, and he has done a remarkable job of spelling it all out.

  37. 37
    Batocchio says:

    I just don’t see how we can have an effective political system when teardrops and children’s stories matter more than years of mismanagement at the Minerals Management Service.

    Speaking of which, let’s recall Broder’s false Muskie teardrops story… The man’s been a tool for a very long time.

  38. 38
    nanute says:

    Doug:
    You’re not the only one that spends a lot of time on Brooks. Check out the latest masterpiece of Doghouse Riley: http://doghouseriley.blogspot......%20Them%3F

  39. 39
    Napoleon says:

    @Batocchio:

    Damn it!!! I read all the way to post 36 convinced that I would be the first to note that but you beat me to it.

  40. 40
    burnspbesq says:

    Charles Blow?

    Yes, he does.

  41. 41
    kid bitzer says:

    if only president mccain were allowed to serve the term to which he was duly elected by david broder!

    he would be down there right now in a submarine, and he would tell that oil leak to stop the bullshit!

  42. 42
    El Cid says:

    TELEPROMPTER! BITTER! MICHELLE SAID SHE NEVER LOVED AMERICA! BILL AYERS! BIRTH CERTIFICATE! OBAMA HATES AMERICA!

    And of course I’m not one of those wild-eyed right wing radicals, because I write the above with a touch of sadness at how I once believed Obama would finally reach out to Republicans and allow Democratic policies to be whatever Republicans wanted, which is bipartisan.

  43. 43
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Mike G: Add to the list of W’s toxic legacy — belief that government works like comic books. The MSM is pissed that Obama can’t call up Aquaman to fix Deepwater Horizon.

  44. 44
    4tehlulz says:

    The press has a sad because they like it when their presidents yield the bullhorn of justice on mass graves, and Obama won’t give them that moment.

  45. 45
    JPhillips says:

    John McCain would have gotten BP and the oil together in a room and told them to, “cut the bullshit”.

  46. 46
    marion says:

    I read this just after a Gulf Coast person on MSNBC was complaining that the dispersant is toxic and how could the government have approved it. I would bet a lot that he and many of the other Gulf residents who are complaining about this spill voted against the author of ‘Earth in the Balance’. They probably voted for the representative of deregulation and of the oil industry not once but twice. This is what they voted for. It’s time for people to take some responsibility for their choices.

    Malia is no doubt a very cute child but not as cute as her doting parents think. Obama needs to stop dragging her in whenever he wants to relate to the public–it doesn’t work. (And while I have your attention, could you make him stop referring to ‘my’ secretary of Stat, ‘my’ administration, etc. It drives me nuts and plays right into the Republicans narrative that he’s self absorbed)Thank you.

  47. 47
    Ana Gama says:

    The sad fact of the matter is that Obama will not be appreciated for the very good POTUS he is until years after his presidency is over. But, I think he probably realizes that already.

  48. 48
    Adam Collyer says:

    @marion:

    (And while I have your attention, could you make him stop referring to ‘my’ secretary of Stat, ‘my’ administration, etc. It drives me nuts and plays right into the Republicans narrative that he’s self absorbed)Thank you.

    Come on, seriously? This is the complaint. It makes him seem self-absorbed.

    Those criticisms make absolutely zero sense anyway. He’s a politician. By definition, they’re so self-absorbed that they believe they are capable of running the most powerful country in the world. You can count the number of humble Senators and Presidents literally on one hand.

  49. 49
    angler says:

    this post borders on firebagging

  50. 50
    KCinDC says:

    Seriously, if Obama showed any anger, he’d be an Angry Black Man, and the media would be up in arms about whether he had the temperament to be president. It would be like the brouhaha about the “insane” and “angry” Howard Dean and Al Gore, only an order of magnitude worse.

    And if he teared up, then he’d be showing once again that Democrats are too weak to handle the problems the country faces.

  51. 51
    kay says:

    @Adam Collyer:

    “My” is an ownership word. Try it some other ways. “This” or “the” puts distance between the speaker and the acts of the people who work for him.
    Bush took non-accountability it all the way out, where people dropped out.
    “Mistakes were made” is infamous for a reason.
    Obama goes the other way. It’s all on him.
    I think it’s a window into the (rumored) conservative soul that they perceive accountability language as arrogance.

  52. 52
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Mark S.:

    Quote of the day.

  53. 53
    Hal says:

    Didn’t the media pundits say this during the campaign, too? That Obama was to cerebral and not emoting enough? And look how that turned out.

  54. 54
    JimPortlandOR says:

    Maybe journamalism and op ed folks need to be licensed so when they commit Broderisms they can be disbarred and banned from print. Similarly for their editors.

    Nice, good people don’t read David Broder.

  55. 55
    WereBear says:

    Look, I have far too much to do to micromanage this Presidency.

    He spoke extemporaneously for over an hour on the spill, the efforts to stop it, and totally off the wall requests, and managed to unpack and answer multi level questions on the fly, and showed he knew more than everyone in the room put together including our useless press corpse who even when spoonfed cannot put together a coherent blog post on the subject? The kind of President I want.

    The right wing isn’t happy? They never are.

    He’s thinks his kids are cute? Every father should.

    I just don’t get worked up over what minutiae occurred while our President is trying to fix all the screwups his predecessor left him, because that’s everything. Really. Honest. Name me one thing the Bush Administration left better off than they found it.

    Except the comedy industry.

  56. 56
    Adam Collyer says:

    @kay:

    Fully agree. I can’t even believe that anyone would complain about something so ridiculous. “My Secretary of State” is arrogant? Fine, but even if it is, so what, right? He’s a politician, for Christ’s sake!

  57. 57
    WereBear says:

    @kay: Yep, you nailed it. The Party of Personal Responsibility is no such thing.

    It’s just like a minister obsessed with sin because that’s all he thinks about.

    A more psychologically aware populace would doom the Right Wing. And they know it.

    Once again, great book: Republican Gomorrah.

  58. 58
    kay says:

    @Adam Collyer:

    It sounds sort of silly for him to say “the secretary of state”, he is the boss, after all, and he did hire her, and he has to preface it, because he can bank on the fact that 3/4 of his intended audience don’t know what she does.

    “Our” Secretary of State? Good Lord.

    I guess he could leave it off completely. “Secretary of State Clinton will be traveling to Asia” but then he’s not in there, and they’d be complaining he’s not engaged, or in charge, and they’d feel lost and alone and rudderless :)

  59. 59
    CalD says:

    I guess the lesson here is that the president should carry a puppy with him everywhere he goes.

  60. 60
    kay says:

    @WereBear:

    I appreciate “I” and “my” when I’m questioning actions (which is what a Presidential interview consists of ) because there’s no layers to get through.
    It can get pretty ludicrous, the linguistic hoops people will jump through to avoid getting to “I” or “my”. I spend a lot of time interviewing teenagers, and they’re the absolute masters of that.
    I’m thinking : “was this person sitting in front of me there?”

  61. 61
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @WereBear: This right here, from the first line to the last, with special emphasis on:

    The right wing isn’t happy? They never are.

  62. 62
    angler says:

    @KCinDC: wisdom.

  63. 63
    Steinway1957 says:

    @WereBear: Exactly.

  64. 64
    WereBear says:

    @kay: Oh, yes, I raised two teenagers, which was more than plenty. At times, it seemed like we had made no progress from four years old, and the classic The lamp broke.

    You mean “by itself?”

  65. 65
    kay says:

    @WereBear:

    “Mine” are delinquents, so perhaps there’s a connection we can make?

    Q: “Were you driving?”
    A: “It’s his car”.

  66. 66
    Sheila says:

    I find it interesting that Broder believes it is nonhuman to be measured, reflective and thoughtful. I thought that was what set us apart from the flora and fauna. I, however, do not want to be set apart from the flora and fauna as I believe they are some of our finest teachers, and what we learn from them can then be enhanced by our reflection and thoughtfulness.

  67. 67
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Adam Collyer

    He’s a politician, for Christ’s sake!

    This is the point where the wingnuts sneer about “change we can believe in.”

    I was, and still am, a fan of that theme. But the downside is, it gave the right-tards an easy excuse for slamming President Obama for things they had no problem with when Republicans did them.

  68. 68
    J sub D says:

    It took almost a full hour of Barack Obama’s news conference for the professor-president to come down from his lecture platform and show the human reaction to the gulf oil leak accident that people had been looking for.

    *rolls eyes*

    I’m a cynical bastard. One thing I neither need nor want from politicians is emotional “I feel your pain” bullshit and fabricated personal stories. I’d have campaigned for John Edwards if such nonsence mattered. I judge by works. not words.

    I didn’t give a crap what Amy Carter felt about nuclear weapons and I likewise don’t find Malia Obama’s take on the clusterfuck in the Gulf relevant.

    FWIW, I’m No Obama fan but short of two wasted trips to the Gulf he’s handling this as well as can be expected.

  69. 69
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    I just don’t see how we can have an effective political system when teardrops and children’s stories matter more than years of mismanagement at the Minerals Management Service.

    Yes, I am looking forward to the day when speeches by government officials are more personally compelling than what our kids and grandkids have to say. On that day, the American Experiment will have fulfilled its promise!

    For example, a grandchild of mine recently said this:

    My dogs chase the cats. But they don’t eat them.

    So far, she is winning the contest, but it’s not over yet!

  70. 70
    Jim J says:

    It’s fair enough, if vocabulary-challenged, to say that anyone who expects more out of this president on this particular issue is “stupid.” Free speech and all that.

    Thing is, there’s apparently a lot of “stupid” people out there, because most Americans clearly do not approve of the president’s handling/non-handling of this.

    So you’re left with this: Either a majority of your fellow Americans are “stupid” (entirely possible) or perhaps you have some cognitive issues yourself regarding how this administration has handled/non-handled the spill (also very possible).

    I think the latter is probably more likely than the former, but what do I know? I am teh stupid. I am legion.

  71. 71
    Jerry Bowles says:

    As far as I know, the federal government does not maintain a department called the Department of Plugging Runaway Oil Wells. The only people who have the expertise and resources to fix this problem are the same people who broke it. And all these Redneck Riviera politicians who are now whining about what Obama isn’t doing are the same pols who fought like hell to put drilling platforms there in the first place and opposed any attempts to regulate them as “government intrusion.” Sorry, folks, you can’t have it both ways.

  72. 72

    When a president mention some silly thing his daughter supposedly said to him, we must take him at his word. It is that simple.

    No, this republic does not work that way. There is no “trust” built into the framework of it. Blind faith is the provenance of kings and Popes.

    What if we were to find out that the President’s daughter wasn’t in the White House when the President said what he said? Or that he never saw her because she left for school while he was in the White House situation room? I think it would be a ridiculous waste of time for a reporter to try to find that out, but if someone found it out by accident–hey, it’s 2005 all over again, because the President lied and he’s a liar.

    I seem to recall living through the last seventeen years or so of American political life. I lived through eight years of hearing how nothing Bill Clinton had to say about anything was the truth and then I had to live through eight years of how everything that George W. Bush had to say was a bald-faced lie, so, no. The President doesn’t get a pass. On anything.

    Especially now that we no longer seem to have a functioning, working, adversarial press in this country.

  73. 73
    Aunt Moe says:

    I think our media expected Obama to grab some paper towels and head off to Louisiana last week. Then if the loop current does as feared, he could grab more paper towels and clean up the beach in front of the home of Mr. Limbaugh of Palm Beach.

  74. 74
    AxelFoley says:

    @WereBear @post #55:

    Sums it all up.

  75. 75

    Name me one thing the Bush Administration left better off than they found it.

    Thanks to the explosion in contractors working for the Federal government, suburban Washington D.C. is significantly wealthier than it was a decade ago. The Obama Administration really hasn’t done anything to change this situation.

  76. 76
    WereBear says:

    @Jim J: Honest to FSM, I can’t evaluate any press handling on this because our press is so massively screwed up even contemplating such should take place in a rubber room.

    If is a poem. I suppose the President and his staff could start doing 24/7 interventions, popping up on the situation room to point out Wolf Blitzer is a blithering idiot and a unrepentant liar, but then there would be screams of censorship and the press would get even worse. It’s a rigged game, and I think this administration has both realized that, and is still trying to figure out ways to cope with it. People who think Obama should live in the bully pulpit forget there are plenty of other things that should hold his attention, and I’m one of those whacky folks who think he should have family time and down time, too.

    @kay: “Mine” are delinquents, so perhaps there’s a connection we can make?

    In all likelihood; that even after the teenage years, there’s still entirely too much four year old level behavior.

  77. 77
    henqiguai says:

    @Mark S. (#2):

    I want a president who breaks down and cries during press conferences. Maybe also one who gets so overwhelmed at times his advisors have to coax him out from under his desk. Fuck this keeping a cool head bullshit.

    James Brown, the classic stage performances. Oh wait ! You’re talking about the President ?

  78. 78
    Kerry Reid says:

    If only we’d elected McCain — he would have been crawling on his belly with a knife clenched in his teeth toward that oil leak to show it who’s boss!

    Or at least he would have ordered a nuclear airstrike. Hey, at least he would be DOING SOMETHING!!!

  79. 79
    Roberto says:

    Is Charles Blow related to Christopher Coke?

  80. 80
    Craig says:

    Why can’t a President show both a command of the situation and a personal empathetic side? No one wants an emotional leader who rules by the heart and not by the mind and the realities of the situation. But no one wants a cold and calculating person who deals with issues involving people’s lives like a math equation on a chalk board. People hear political-speak every day. So when someone shows a genuine human moment of personal connection, the public responds positively (usually).

    This is nothing new. When so many lives are involved and in peril, people want to know their leader cares on a personal level and understands a bit of their pain.

    How many people hammered Bush simply due to the photo of him flying over Louisiana as an example of detachment? The personal touch matters. Like it or not.

  81. 81
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Napoleon: Ahem. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m tooting my own damn horn. #29, with a h/t to Scott P. at #28.

    @Craig: That wasn’t why I hammered W. It was because his ‘concern’ was so obviously just a photo op. Obama does show concern–just not in a way other people want him to show it.

  82. 82
    Allison W. says:

    @mai naem:

    I have a niece who’s eleven and there is no way she would use the term “plug the hole up” and she’s not even the president’s daughter with constant discussion of this stuff

    Say what? I’ve known plenty of 11-year olds myself and hung around them myself when I was eleven. They are not sophisticated when it comes to terminology so “plug the hole up” is a reasonable statement. Especially on the topic of oil technology. And she’s talking to her father not writing a paper for class.

    These kids are getting some of the best education money can buy – they’re not dumb and they are the president’s kids, but they are still kids. It’s very likely that that is what she said. I could be wrong though. Obama might have dumbed down her question so that those genius’s at the press conference could understand.

  83. 83
    Craig says:

    And Obama’s trip wasn’t a “photo op” when you boil it down? He learned nothing intellectually/operationally that he couldn’t have learned in a video conference. Like in any disaster, people want to know that their leader has seen their reality with his own eyes and feel better than he may now “understand” better (when he likely does not). Hearing a person say something in a televised press conference is not the same (psychologically) as hearing it face to face.

    Obama was there, on site, for three hours, got his moment of documented somber reflection on the beach, and that was what was needed to help shore up perceptions of whether he “gets it” or not.

    Clearly within the category of a photo opp. But sometimes that is what the public wants to see (along with results).

  84. 84
    Allison W. says:

    If Glenn Beck were president he would have put on his wetsuit come out with some sludge in his hands and do this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Ebo4UhloU

    OBama should take some lessons from this guy. Then the press would never criticize him again and Liberals would be happy with him all the time.

  85. 85

    […] at Balloon Juice pokes fun at Broder: You make a grown man cry No, there is no way that a president could fabricate a story about something a family member told […]

  86. 86
    chrome agnomen says:

    @WereBear:
    the democratic party

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