The Obama Presser

The new President-elect held his first press conference today, ostensibly to discuss the state of the economy. Barack Obama is promising a new stimulus package to combat the current economic crisis–despite the fact that temporary stimulus packages just don’t work. We are informed that when it comes to setting economic policy, the President-elect wants to move with “deliberate haste.” One can be hasty or one can be deliberate. One cannot be both. Preferably, one will just seek to be wise and judicious and being the ever-so-cheery optimist that I am, I will trust and hope that the absence of the adjectives “wise” and “judicious” from the statements of the President-elect will not necessarily signify an absence of those qualities in the actions of the President-elect.

Of course, the President-elect is not a Messiah. He is just another politician. So perhaps I should brace myself to be disappointed.

Wisdom and judiciousness were not exactly evident when the President-elect forbade FoxNews from asking a question at his press conference. Was this accidental? Perhaps. But if it was deliberate, then the incoming Administration is making a mistake. If the President-elect and members of his party object to what they perceive as bias on the part of FoxNews, they would do better to engage the news company rather than shun it; shunning Fox only serves to augment the presence of right-of-center folk on the news channel, which of course would do nothing to combat the perceived bias (I would give right-of-center folk the same advice regarding engaging NPR and the same warnings in the event that my advice is not taken). In any event, for an incoming Administration that promised us Hope, Change and Unity, the same old political grievances appear to be playing themselves out right in front of our eyes. This should come as little surprise to students of history; there is nothing new under the sun, after all. But at the same time, it reminds us anew that Barack Obama is not the Messiah. He is just another politician.

Oh, and making snide comments about Nancy Reagan–when it was actually Hillary Clinton who talked to dead people–was gauche (no political pun intended). To his credit, the President-elect apologized. But perhaps he would do well not to wade in these dangerous waters again; the President-elect only served, by his comments, to anger both Reagan supporters and the junior Senator from New York and her husband, the former President of the United States. Hell hath no fury like the Clintons scorned and poking Republicans in the eye ain’t politically smart either. Messiahs don’t needlessly make enemies.

But then, Barack Obama is no Messiah. He is just another politician.