Nation Feeling Obama Burnout

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 08:02 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Do the U.S. media suffer from what the former President Jimmy Carter rather tactlessly once labeled a "malaise," when he was assessing the collective nation's mood?

The media's malaise this time isn't being caused by the usual professional problems that go with the craft — feeling overworked, underpaid, under-loved by superiors, and a general feeling that technology is making suckers of us all.

No, the root of this malady is the journalists' feelings toward President Barack Obama. Maybe the collective media are just tired of him and feel burnt out by his proclamations.

The same argument, of course, could be made for the president's supporters and the nation as a whole.

Whether or not you like or approve of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu's recent performance, as he confronts a daily war-torn region, Netanyahu has made an impression on the watching world. He is a man of action. He is driven by a need to serve his people, at any cost to his image. Say this for the man: He is anything but dull or predictable.

Which leads us to President Obama. He is uber-predictable, though maybe that's automatically a bad trait. He is always going to be analytical. He could spent the length of a State of the Union address arguing both sides of whether to get a cat out of a tree or to let it stay there.

Now, the president, nearing the midterm elections, is facing the problem of familiarity breeding contempt. Again, it's not all his doing. What U.S. president has sailed through his second term unscathed in modern times? That's right — nobody has. You can tick off the embarrassments and legacy-busting events for Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Dubya. Now it is Obama's turn.

Obama could have looked dynamic if he had ventured forth to riot-torn Ferguson, Mo. Yes, he has a point when he suggests that it is a state, not a federal, matter. But gee whiz. The entire nation is riveted to the tiny town and "Ferguson" will now take its place alongside the other civil rights signposts in U.S. history.

President Obama could have done well to shake off the Obama burnout in the media by leaving his golf clubs in Air Force One and jumping off the plane long enough to stir the nation with one of his patented rising speeches. But he didn't.

Now we're all eft with a lingering feeling of been-there-done-that in his presidency. Of course, he still has two-plus years to go — a lifetime, really, in U.S. politics — to turn the tide and get our nation excited again about him.

I want to see him try to pull it off.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
 


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