Friday, January 23, 2009

Media-created Perceptions

Media-created perceptions: they don't work with me. I am immune to the press and their Jedi mind tricks. Despite years of relentless effort to convince me that George W. Bush was an illiterate, genocidal sock puppet under the control of an evil consortium of oil companies, Halliburton, and Vice President Cheney, I never bought into it.

Similarly, the press will not be able to convince me that our new president, with his oratory style of delivering meaningless platitudes and empty promises with the fervor of a southern Baptist minister, is anything more than a small dog that chased a large car, caught it, and now has no idea what to do with it.

Rather, my judgment of President Obama will be based on his actions and their results, not his melodious words. My opinion will also be formulated by watching Obama's reactions to the consequences of his decisions. His predecessor stood by his decisions and never succumbed to the temptation to lay blame on others. In fact, he was so loyal to his people that it was a bit of a weakness. Obama on the other hand seems to always be able to find a staffer or former associate (or former president, for that matter) to take the blame for any adverse events or consequences to his words or (in)actions.

This is not to discount the benefits of being able to rally the public behind your cause. Quite the opposite, in fact. The inability to sell his ideas to the general public over the din of our malicious press was a primary reason for Bush's abysmal approval ratings. That said, words must be backed by actions or they are meaningless. Forceful words must be backed by forceful leadership. Bush had the traits of a strong leader. Only time will tell if Obama is capable of the same.