Obama’s little fireside chat yesterday about the Ebola outbreak was a complete disaster. It totally failed in its attempted objective, which was to reassure the American people that there is nothing here to be concerned about, and more importantly, to convince us that our government has this under control, and knows what it is doing.
If you want to talk to the American people, then talk TO them, not AT them. Yesterday’s chosen format, from the Cabinet room, was weird in that regard. Who was Obama addressing? The reporters? The members of his Cabinet? We the people?
Obama never once looked directly into the camera, never spoke to us….instead, he was constantly turning his head from one side to the other, speaking to whom?
Obama, to my knowledge, has never spoken to the country from the Oval Office, often the venue of choice for Presidents. Probably it’s because he is psychologically unable to look directly into the cameras.
And for the entire speech, his comments were almost drowned out by the near machine-gun staccato of the cameras in the room. Someone should realize that you do NOT need several dozen cameras, continuously taking pictures of the same potted plant for the entire duration of the speech. Tell them to take pictures for the first 30 seconds; then stop.
As for his comments, it was basically an attempted riff on FDR’s “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but badly delivered. It didn’t work.
Only a few months ago, his communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, explained that the President can’t just drop his schedule, and rush back to the White House, every time something happened somewhere. Except this time. Which makes this supposedly “not really a big deal” thing actually a really big deal.
This was kabuki theater, designed to show America, in advance of the midterm elections, that their president was in charge, on top of his game, and taking this seriously.
So he surrounded himself with props, aka the Cabinet..just as he demonstrated his ability to recite the names of world leaders. Again, classic Obama, leading from behind..seeking the safety of the pack.
The President of the United States attempted to bore us with a flurry of mind-numbing details. It is not his function to deliver a lecture on what “contact tracing” is, that’s a job for someone at the CDC.
His comments can be summarized as follows:
There’s nothing to be worried about here, folks, but just in case I’m wrong, and this becomes a big deal, we’re gonna send SWAT teams in every time it happens again. And, oh yeah, let’s pray for our brave healthcare workers, many of whom are underpaid.”
And then, of course, the last line:
Okay. Thank you very much.
Senor Wences has left the building.
Note: For those of you who don’t know, or have forgotten, the great Spanish ventriloquist, Senor Wences..watch:
He could well be playing the role of CDC director