In the days following State of the Union address, Paul Ryan’s rebuttal and the Tea Party’s rebuttal to Ryan’s rebuttal, it's easy to get lost in the sea of noise that is the modern day 24-hour news cycle.
The New York Time’s Matt Bai took notice of this struggle in a piece this week, and he focused in particular on President Obama’s struggle to harness the communications breakthroughs that have emerged during his presidency. Bai points out that the White House staff is certainly more advanced when it comes to communication than their predecessors, but that’s a given. The real question is, as Bai points out, is whether the administration is taking advantage of the Internet the same way John F. Kennedy used television or Franklin Roosevelt used radio.
It’s a tough question. That’s probably why Bai makes the big bucks writing for the New York Times. It’s a tough call. With the presidency, there is a fine line between engaging with your audience (and I mean citizens) and being over the top, or dare I say un-presidential. If there was a Barry Obama Facebook page in which he updated his status to “OMG Michelle Bachman needs to look at the camera,” or if his Barry44 twitter feed said “@JohnMcCain: could you sit up straight while I talk about securing our border,” then I think there might be some questions about the president's time management priorities, let alone his ability to act presidential.
Conversely, there should be greater outreach from the guy who won an election largely by harnessing the "inter-Webs," and his opponent's misunderstanding of it. Sure, the president is good at infiltrating my e-mail inbox with press releases and targeted messages to the state I used to live in — two years ago — but it could be better, right? Perhaps Obama is doing the right thing by answering another round of YouTube questions, but how about something else?
Perhaps it’s time for a daily blog. I know the guy is busy, but I'm sure one of his staffers could help him out. And considering that Bai describes Obama as, “probably the most talented writer to occupy the office in the television age,” I think he can handle it. If he needs a place to host it, I am sure we could find a place for him at MNN. Let’s whip up a caricature, give him a category and let the readers roll in. (My fear is not that an Obama blog on MNN would be un-presidential, but that the wonderful minds behind the site may give him the political beat. I really like the guy who has that job now.) But I don’t think the president would go for that. After all, he is trying to add jobs, not take them (particularly mine) away.
So get blogging, Mr. President. But don’t take the angry comments too personally; just be happy you have readers.