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Obama’s Still the Flavor of the Week . . . unlike Michael ppphhhPhelps

In politics, much is made of a new President’s First 100 Days, but considering our rapidly expanding YouTube universe, a more accurate descriptor might be Flavor of the Week. 

And while there’s no doubt Obama Bold continues to be the world’s number one taste sensation-making the covers of major magazines worldwide-the President did have to share headlines with the Super Bowl and a raging Rush Limbaugh (filling the void left by Republican’s everywhere).

 Now while the Super Bowl annually rises to the top of the charts in the public consciousness, Limbaugh’s emergence can be seen as both a good and bad thing.

 Good in that democracy-or at least difference of opinion-is alive and well, bad in that just days after an inauguration that elevated the world’s sense of hope and promise, knives were already being sharpened, bi-partisanship seemed more like a sinking ship, and the promise of “Yes, We Can” appeared to be more limited to winning an election than to leading a faltering nation from malaise.

 Why the change, so soon?  Well, the new President, omnipresent media, and a Republican Party less reeling from shell-shock can take equal credit/share equal blame.

For example, was it just me or did Obama seem at a near-loss for words following news that Wall Street barons had awarded themselves billions in bonuses-paid, incredulously, from the government’s recent bail-out?  

 Was it just me or was there a hint of futility in the wet-noodle scolding he gave, promising to further address the issue . . . when? . . . after the Super Bowl? 

 Clearly, the rats had jumped ship and taken the wind from its sails with them.  Or to put the new President’s plea for selflessness in more SuperBowlian vernacular, there really is no “I” in “team” . . . especially when there’s no team to begin with.

 But maybe that’s just the way it is in today’s jolts-per-second, multi-media world.  We raise our kings just to tear them down.  Ride them in on a wave of high ratings, then watch them drown in a sea of questions from a constant stream of reporters and political analysts.  It’s the new-millennia way: make our leaders steer the ship while simultaneously walking the plank.  Slings and arrows of outrageous scrutiny or 21st century “democracy”?

 Anyway . . . was it just me or did the President have a few more gray hairs?

 Fair or not, the early-season scorecard reads something like this: after a euphoric inauguration that left most the world warm and fuzzy, Obama clearly lost points with the appointment of tax-evader Timothy Geithner as treasury-secretary.  So why would he do it?  Enquiring minds (or at least 34 Senators) want to know.

 Officials explained that the hasty swearing-in showed they were wasting no time addressing the financial crisis.  The President added the financial system was in “serious jeopardy” and said there’d been a “devastating loss of trust and confidence.”

 Had been?

 When Obama pledged to lead a government of transparency, we didn’t think he meant to reward dishonesty openly.  Yet isn’t Geithner’s appointment the same kind of duplicitous government two-step voters have been dancing to for years?  Suddenly, the song the President’s been singing about honesty and change is starting to sound like the same old tune.  And while the malady (er, melody) remains the same, you can add Obama’s lines to the lyrics (following Nixon’s defiant, “I am not a crook,” Reagan’s assertive, “Read my lips . . . “, Clinton’s memorable, “I did not have sex with that woman,” and Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction.”). 

 But back to Geithner.  After the Senate voted to put him in charge of the administration’s economic team, he said he would first stabilize the financial system and get the economy growing then move to reform the system.

 Reform the system?  Reform the system?  What, you mean the overvalued house of cards that failed, essentially, because of a built-in, absence of integrity?  How does a tax evader fix that?

 Wondering the same thing, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa asked how a man of Geithner’s “financial sophistication” could innocently not pay taxes he owed . . . then credibly head up the agency that oversees the IRS.

 Though the honeymoon continues, it’s only a matter of time before people start wondering the same of Obama.  Is he for real or just another smoke-and-mirrors politician who says one thing but does another.  After all, aren’t the best con men in the world the ones you want to believe in the most? 

 Speaking on the subject of religion, not politics, Obama once admitted that his faith is one that “admits some doubt.”  Following Geithner’s appointment, I have to say mine is too.

 Which proves one thing: in a media-run world-where a single photo can turn an Olympic Golden Boy into a pothead overnight-the slightly graying President may still be the Flavor of the Week . . . but the flavor’s gone a little sour.




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