Truer than You Realize
November 18, 2012
Recent post from a Facebook friend:
Well, yes, President Obama is great at being a “Celebrity”, as McCain’s campaign ad (of surprising continuing relevance) put it in 2008:
Obama has appeared on The View over and over again (e.g., July 2010, May 2012); two months ago, he thought it was more important to appear again on the program, as “eye candy” (his words), than to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu or other world leaders. He has given interviews with radio DJs like “DJ Laz, ‘the pimp with the limp,'” and “DJ Michael ‘Yo’ Simmons”. And did you know that you could “Keep up with The White House on Flickr”?
Why does he do all this? Simple—he knows that a sizable share of the electorate today casts its vote not for the candidate who, upon careful reflection, is likely to lead to the better policy outcomes, but for whoever seems more likable.*
Don’t take my word for it; Obama himself was not shy about saying why:
“If you want to get out the vote, the place to go is the YO Show,” the president said.
So it goes.
* After re-election, a similar calculus presumably still applies to the political capital he needs to negotiate with opposition in Congress. Of course it’s possible that egotism also plays a role.