Obama on Leno

Ken AshfordObama & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Driving into work today, I was listening to the BBC.  The topic of discussion was Obama's appearance last night on Leno.  One commentator was opining that it was beneath the dignity of the presidency for the American president to appear on a "chat show".  Jeez.  The Brits can be such snoots sometimes.

I think it was wise of Obama to go on.  There is a populist wave running through America, and people actually like that their President can be a regular guy.  Not so much "the guy you want to have a beer with", but a guy who is serious, responsible, and knows the import of his job, while still being personable and agreeable.

That's how Obama came off last night.  Sure, it was a softball interview.  But it was a way for him to speak about the nation's problems without the media filter.  He was upbeat, funny and optimistic when he needed to be, and serious and throughful when he needed to be. 

Sadly, Leno focussed on the AIG bonuses far too much for me.  (In fact, I think everyone is focussing on the AIG bonuses far too much for me.  In the big picture, financially, they are nothing.)

Slight gaffe when he compared his bowling skills to the "Special Olympics".  The right wing is trumpeting the faux pas by saying "Obama insults the disabled", which, of course, he wasn't (he was denigrating his own bowling skills).  No doubt Rush will have something to say, and irony alarms will sound throughout the country; it was Rush who literally did insult the disabled when he said that Michael J. Fox was exaggerating his tremors in order to get sympathy.

But all in all, a good show.