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Ed Driscoll

President Couch Potato and Sec’y of State Flip-Flopper Hip-Hopper

January 1st, 2014 - 12:12 pm

I don’t know about you, but once I acquired my first cable modem a decade and a half ago, I’ve watched a steadily-dwindling amount of television. What’s happening on the ‘Net just seems so much more interesting than 99 percent of what’s happening on the networks. One would assume that for the president of the United States, who has been entrusted by the American people to, you know, keep the nation out of harm’s way, and as the quaint phrase goes, run the government, he’d have far less time to watch TV than you or I.

Our current President Potemkin evidently has very different priorities. Or as Howard Portney asks at Newsbusters, pondering the difficult questions, “Where Is Obama Finding the Time to Watch So Much Television?”

Take a story from Sunday’s New York Times that addresses his TV viewing preferences:

These days, when Mr. Obama retreats to the White House residence after a long day on the other end of the colonnade, he is working his way through the DVD box set of AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’….

Friends say Mr. Obama is also keenly awaiting the new season of the Netflix show ‘House of Cards.’…

Mr. Obama is also a devotee of Showtime’s ‘Homeland.’…

And the list of heavies continues. Mr. Obama has told people he is a big fan of ‘Game of Thrones.’… He has raved about ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and the BBC’s ‘Downton Abbey.’… And he has worked his way through the DVDs of AMC’s smoldering ‘Mad Men’ series.

Obama is also enamored, Times writer Michael Shear adds, of HBO’s ‘The Wire,’ ‘Real Housewives,’ ‘Glee’ ABC’s ‘Modern Family’ and NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter.’

Meanwhile, with John Kerry chumming around with Snoop Doggy Dogg, one can assume the Middle East’s once-intractable squabbles will soon be solved forevermore. Poor New York magazine, tasked with having to defend their maladroit fellow Democrat, actually ran the headline,”John Kerry Fist-Bumping Snoop Dogg Is Somehow Not That Awkward” on Monday.

No actually, it’s all extremely awkward watching a 70 year old radical chic Boston Brahmin underneath his helmet-like Shatner Turbo 2000 declaring his love for rap music. A decade ago, the would-be presidential candidate Kerry publicly declared, “I’m fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there’s a lot of poetry in it. There’s a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you’d better listen to it pretty carefully, ’cause it’s important.” In response, in his classic column back then dubbing Kerry “America’s first flip-flopper hip-hopper,” Mark Steyn compared one of the key differences between the two parties:

By comparison, here’s Gov. Bush four years ago being given a ”verbal Rorschach” test on American pop culture by Glamour magazine: What comes to mind, David France wanted to know, when you think of Madonna?

”I’m not into pop music,” replied Bush.

Boy, that MTV special would have been a short one. Stunned by the candidate’s ignorance, Maureen Dowd, the New York Times’ elderly schoolgirl, wrote a column mocking him for never having heard of ”Sex and the City,” beginning as follows:

”W. may have gone too far this time.

”Americans can forgive him not knowing that Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in Pakistan.

”But can we forgive him not knowing that Sarah Jessica Parker quaffs Cosmopolitans in Manhattan?”

Answer: Yes. Unlike Dowd, Americans are apparently willing to cut him some slack on this vital question. Some may even feel that his cheerful admission that ”I’m not into pop music” is the sign of a man secure in his sense of himself.

This isn’t entirely a matter of trivialities. The fads and fashions of the world aren’t confined to the Billboard Hot 100. All over the planet, men in late middle age are pretending to like stuff just ’cause it’s what the likes of Maureen Dowd tell them people want to hear. John Kerry pretends to like gangsta rap. Russia pretends it supports the Kyoto Accord. The European Union pretends Yasser Arafat is committed to peace with Israel. The Security Council pretends its resolutions mean something. Kofi Annan pretends the Oil-for-Fraud program is a humanitarian aid effort for the Iraqi people. The International Atomic Energy Authority pretends the mullahs in Tehran are good-faith negotiators on the matter of Iranian nukes.

While the Palestinian and UN figureheads have changed place-card settings, that last paragraph sounds remarkably timely right now, as does the reminder that a man who isn’t trying to embrace every current pop culture trend is indeed “the sign of a man secure in his sense of himself,” as Steyn wrote almost a decade ago.

Early last month, Peggy Noonan perceptively wrote that Mr. Obama’s administration is staffed with people “who’ve seen the movie but not read the book,” a phrase that takes on additional nuances, given the couch-potato like viewing habits of their boss. And even beyond Mr. Obama’s obvious pop cultural insecurities, there’s an even greater question, as Portney asks, at the conclusion of his column. The president’s television habits, “or at least the number of series, most with running times of one hour, that he professes to watch — do raise a question: When does he find time to play golf?”

Hey, the left didn’t dub the man the “Lightworker” back in 2008 for nothing.

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