Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt from National Review Online is a classic today (you really should consider subscribing to it if you haven’t already). A sampling, from the section on yesterday’s hour-long Obamathon with the media…
So That’s Why He Doesn’t Do Press Conferences Anymore
Early on — say, 2005 or 2006 — I thought then-senator Barack Obama was indeed a great speaker and a true rising star in politics. (For those jeering, cut me some slack, pal — I was out of the country.) But then I caught him at a few candidate cattle calls in early 2007 and was strikingly underwhelmed; when your reputation is that you’re LeBron James, JFK, Martin Luther King, and Jesus all rolled into one, you’re expected to knock it out of the park every time. And the more he underwhelmed me, the more my social betters at larger publications kept insisting that his latest speech was the greatest in American history, or at least the best in American history since his last speech.
So when Obama completely bobbles a press conference, I’m not surprised; what does surprise me is when everybody else starts noticing.
Tom Maguire, writing at JustOneMinute: “Obama tells us he is in charge at his press conference, then goes off-message by claiming he was a mere bystander to the dismissal of the head of the Minerals and Management Services. NY Timeswoman Jackie Calmes asked a skeptical follow-up about this, so we will see how much BS the press can swallow.”
Allahpundit, writing at Hot Air: “I could wring 10 posts out of that oil spill of a press conference but any more than three would be cruel to you guys, I think. So here’s the first golden moment, which even some lefties were laughing at on Twitter. After solemnly insisting that ‘the federal government is fully engaged and I’m fully engaged,’ The One admits he’s . . . not quite sure what happened with the head of MMS this morning because he was busy with a bunch of other important stuff at the time. Like, for instance, meeting with the Duke basketball team. In fairness, it’s not entirely clear even now whether Birnbaum jumped or was pushed: Officially she resigned but sources tell CNN she was fired. Even so, given the growing public contempt for MMS’s embarrassingly shoddy oversight, I’m amazed he didn’t seize this as an opportunity for a ‘damn right I ordered the code red on Birnbaum’ moment. On a day when the public’s desperately looking for authority and accountability, he’s flatly admitting that he’s out of the loop. Great work, champ.”
The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capehart, usually a reliable Obama fan: “Obama’s admission that he was clueless on this question was shocking. Perhaps he was being polite. Not wanting to draw attention to the sacking of an individual the American people didn’t realize was even there. But by not proactively announcing Birnbaum’s departure and then being caught flat-footed on what happened to her, Obama will fuel the narrative that he is a cool chief executive who is not only aloof but also unaware of the machinations of his own administration.”
I thought I had the perfect example of how meaningless Obama’s rote pledges have become — “We will not rest until,” “Let me be clear” — with my list of “top priorities” he’s referred to since the initial explosion, but Tabitha Hale tweets, “Obama has made 2 visits to the gulf since the spill . . . and 4 visits to California to campaign for Boxer.” (Although I wonder, is it four visits or four fundraisers in two visits?)