Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's the Optics, Stupid!

It’s the optics, stupid.

The new trendy term for what used to be called PR casts a harsh light on the Obama presidency. Apparently, six years on the job has not taught our president that appearances matter, that appearances send a message, that appearances inspire or demoralize the nation and the world.

Obama may have thought he delivered a solemn address about the murder of James Foley, but the image of him yucking it up with his pals on the golf course immediately thereafter gave the lie to his noble sentiments.

Now, Maureen Dowd, who will soon be transformed from op-ed columnist into long-form journalist has written an instant classic on the optics of the Obama presidency.

It’s obviously a riff on the Gettysburg Address, another speech that commemorated a horrific wartime slaughter.

Dowd is in rare form. Into the mouth of our president she puts: “The Golf Address.”

The speech begins:

FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL.

Dowd’s Obama shows some self-awareness, but not enough to cause him to change the optics. Which is to say, he has no self-awareness at all:

I know it doesn’t look good to have pictures of me grinning in a golf cart juxtaposed with ones of James Foley’s parents crying, and a distraught David Cameron rushing back from his vacation after only one day, and the Pentagon news conference with Chuck Hagel and General Dempsey on the failed mission to rescue the hostages in Syria.

We’re stuck in the rough, going to war all over again in Iraq and maybe striking Syria, too. Every time Chuck says ISIL is “beyond anything we’ve ever seen,” I sprout seven more gray hairs. But my cool golf caps cover them. If only I could just play through the rest of my presidency.

As many have noted, Obama has checked out of his presidency. The job is clearly beyond his abilities, so he has chosen to enjoy the perks while he can.

Dowd continues:

But, in a larger sense, we can dedicate, we can consecrate, we can hallow this ground where I can get away from my wife, my mother-in-law, Uncle Joe, Congress and all the other hazards in my life.

The brave foursomes, living and dead, who struggled here in the sand, in the trees, in the water, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or subtract a few strokes to improve our score. Bill Clinton was Mr. Mulligan, and he is twice as popular as I am.

The world will little note, nor long remember, what we shot here, or why I haven’t invited a bunch of tiresome congressmen to tee it up. I’m trying to relax, guys. So I’d much rather stay in the bunker with my usual bros.

Former Obama supporter Dowd ends the speech on the right tone:

We here highly resolve that these golfing greats shall not have competed in vain, especially poor Tiger, and that this nation, under par, shall have a new birth of freedom to play the game that I have become unnaturally obsessed with, and that golf of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

So help me Golf.

What does it all mean?

It means that the media’s long love affair with Obama is over. Soon it will begin laying the groundwork for Hillary.

Now, if only Obama's media supporters could apologize for misleading the nation.


Anonymous said...

I hate the term "optics." It reminds me of what journalism has become today. It's become the favorite word of (supposedly) sophisticated, elite, mainstream journalism. Forget about the facts, let's just consider how it all LOOKS to spectators in Washington and an under-informed, non-voting population that's focused on Kim Kardashian's latest brouhaha.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Unfortunate, but true. We pay much more attention to images than substance.