Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Worrisome . . .

There’s a lighthearted piece in today’s New York Times about Barack Obama and his aide, Reggie Love. The following paragraph leapt out at me:

Along the way, some unofficial rules have emerged between the candidate and his aide. From Mr. Obama: “One cardinal rule of the road is, we don’t watch CNN, the news or MSNBC. We don’t watch any talking heads or any politics. We watch ‘SportsCenter’ and argue about that.”

Anyone concerned about that? The man who may be president doesn’t watch the news or “any politics.” All during the primary, Obama has found himself a little flustered when called upon to offer facts in his defense. You’d think he would try boning up on the headlines now and then. So unskillful is Obama in this regard that the Wall Street Journal once recorded his wife Michelle giving him the following instructions

“Barack,” she interjected, “Feel — don’t think!” Telling her husband his “over-thinking” during past debates had tripped him up with rival Hillary Clinton, she said: “Don’t get caught in the weeds. Be visceral. Use your heart — and your head.”

So, SportsCenter it is. The issue here is not brain power. One only need listen to Obama wax poetic about hope and inclusiveness for thirty seconds to sense his formidable intelligence. Rather, he seems disinclined to deal in pedestrian details, what with lofty generalizations being so much more fun and all. Or maybe when you spend all day going from from adoring amphitheater to adoring amphitheater, a critical jab from a talking head can really spoil your mood.