Recently a young president came into office and immediately launched a charm offensive. He spoke of bi-partisanship and promised to “change the tone” in Washington. That president, of course, was George W. Bush, who left office last week the object of widespread unpopularity and intense media ridicule.
President Barack Obama has soared to high office on the wings of hope and change. He promises to transform our small politics into something bigger. His supporters believe that together we can make America and the world a better place. Yes We Can.
So, how do you start doing that? Naturally, by accosting the outgoing president in the rudest of ways, in the most inappropriate setting. Sherman Frederick of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes about Obama supporters booing President Bush at last week’s inauguration.
This bit of news might seem a bit old hat by now, but I think it is an interesting occurrence to examine through this lens: how will the image of Obama and the movement he inspired change during the course of his presidency?
Obama supporters pride themselves on bringing change to Washington, on moving beyond old political divisions and promoting a spirit of cooperation and bi-partisanship, yet in their first appearance in Washington, their actions are nothing less than acrimonious.
As far as Obama’s personal image, well, that is also sure to evolve. Will his cool personal vibe be revealed as less than the total picture, something short of a wholly precise depiction of the man?
On Thursday, Obama visited the press corps and became irritated when a journalist asked him a question, as reported by The Politico. The episode was reminiscent of Obama’s seeming frustration during the campaign when he was asked by reporters during press conferences about topics he did not want to speak about. It will be interesting to see how such incidents, should they continue, affect Obama’s public image moving ahead in his presidency.