The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS’ Mike Lupica might want to think about sticking to sports.
This morning, Lupica went full metal hatchet on President Barack Obama’s in-progress media campaign. Lupica, whose own "The Mike Lupica Show" on ESPN2 was cancelled after only a handful of episodes, took the president to task for doing a series of talk show appearances last week: an ESPN hit to fill in his NCAA tourney bracket, a sit-down with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show", and a tour of The White House last night on "60 Minutes". Lupica is concerned that Obama is in perpetual campaign mode, writing:
Sometimes, though, it seems the bubble is about to burst, and that he is about to become the first American President to suffer from overexposure before his first 100 days are up, that he is trying way too hard. Lately, he leaves the impression that he is on television more than Chris Matthews. Maybe his wife can be the one to tell him to dial it down a little, that he got the gig.
But right around the same time that people were reading Lupica in their morning paper, over on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe", business commentator Donny Deutsch was offering up a response to Thomas Friedman’s more balanced Sunday NEW YORK TIMES column about the “absence of inspirational leadership” in government, which wound up turning out to be a better rebuttal to Lupica. Says Deutsch:
This is a president that, part of his brand is being out there…he is a telegenic, media-centric president—and he’s a brave president…this guy’s going on, taking questions prime time. Can you imagine our last president doing that? …And by the way, him being on Leno shows he’s in charge. I was a CEO, I ran a multi-billion dollar company. When we were in trouble, the worst thing I could do was hide in my office vs. walking around, cracking jokes—because that let my employees know, “You know what?—he knows everything’s o.k., it’s gonna be o.k.” And that’s his job—he’s gotta be daddy to everybody.
Deutsch really sums it up pretty well. If Lupica’s concern is that Obama is in perpetual campaign mode, it’s because he is. 2012 is right around the corner, and the way Obama processes things that are far over the horizon, he’s probably banking on having eight years in office to work in some of the longer term fixes to the big problems—Middle East relations, fiscal stability, global warming, and health care. He already knows from watching George W. Bush sink into oblivion that Americans are perpetually asking “What have you done for me lately?” It seems like a no-brainer for him to stay out in the public eye while he’s still relatively popular.
David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.