Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama on Late Night - Perfect Venue for the Broad Strokes

President Obama has found his niche'. He has the perfect platform for getting his message out and if the recent polls are any indication, he should stick to that strategy. What is it? Appearing on entertainment talk shows.

The President's appearance on David Letterman's "Late Night" this week gave the leader of the free world a much needed boost in his poll numbers that have been slipping since June. While the jump to the up column wasn't huge by any means, any move in that direction after his hot, hot, summer of trying to explain his healthcare measure is seen as a positive by his staff and media lovers.

On the show with Dave, the President was relaxed, informative and did impart that aura of leadership, calm in the face of uncertainty and boldness we Americans want to see in our President. He was funny, congenial, informative and given a nearly 45 minute platform to talk about whatever he wanted to get across to the American people in a relaxed, comfortable, non-agressive atmosphere. He basically shot a perfect score from the foul-line.

President Obama used his time on the late night talk venue to spread a full spectrum of generalities on subjects like health care coverage, our future policies dealing with terrorism, or how he put it - "Those folks over there," Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy. It was the perfect setup for a man who, behind close doors likes to dot every i and cross every t, but in a public forum such as this, prefers to paint with a very broad brush-stroke that is big in scope and very minute on detail - sort of Reagan-esq (in fact he even called on the Reagan name). But, let's face it - the Devil is in the details.

For those looking for that feel-good, "we got the right guy here" vibe then the President knocked it out of the ballpark with a grand slam homer. For those of us who can no longer get the same pleasure from just feeling good, he barely scored an undisputed infield single.

We don't need to be constantly told that we need to change the current health care coverage situation in this country, we are all bright enough to realize it needs fixing. Our question is -- "What's your actual plan?"

I will give the President cred for how he handled such questions as Iraq and the desire from some corners to either cut and run or increase our involvement in Afghanistan. His answers were thought-provoking, reasoned and the exact thing one wants to hear from their leader. He admitted, finally, that the world is a better and safer place without Sadaam Hussain holding the reins of power in Iraq, and kept to his promise that nearly all combat troops would be out of that country by the end of 2010 (or 2011 at the latest). When Dave suggested the President needed to move on a decision in Afghanistan, the President was quick to remind him, and all of us, that the situation there is not a simple one (just ask the Russians) and before he makes a final determination he will fully weigh the options of both sides drumming at his door because before he has to write another letter to a grieving parent or spouse about the loss of their loved one on foreign soil he wants to make sure that it was fully justified and necessary for the good of this nation's real security. However, in the most forthright statement ever delivered by him, either as a candidate or now as President, Obama made it perfectly clear that his primary job as the leader of this country and the main responsibility that voters gave him the office, was to defend and protect its borders, its people and its Constitution and that will be the foundation upon which he will make his final decision concerning our further military involvment in Afghanistan (or anywhere else we may be called upon to act). Good answer Mr. President. And, the audience thought so as well and responded with a huge applause.

On the various news outlets across the media much was made of Dave's "gushing" over the President. Sorry, didn't see that, other than his final comment to the President in which he stated "I love watching you work". What I did see was a truly engaged Letterman asking the same kinds of questions every citizen would love to be given the opportunity to ask our main leader face-to-face. What I didn't always get from the President was engrossing answers to most of them but the continued broad generalities one comes to expect from political leaders in office today. Can anyone ever simply answer Yes and No anymore?

I found very little to disagree with the President during his stint on Letterman. But, then again, there wasn't really a lot of substance there to agree or disagree with, so I turned off the tube after Dave waved goodnight feeling good about the last hour, feeling quite entertained, but not anymore knowledgeable about where the President is taking this nation then I did when he was introduced.

At least the President got something of substance from the show. He was gifted with a prized 2-year old heart-shaped potato by an audience member from the Show Me State of Missouri. I thought it was quite appropriate for the event.

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