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Obama on “The View”: No, I Don’t Want to Relate to My President

Posted on July 30 2010 6:00 pm
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Last night, Jon Stewart was talking about how President Obama was being criticized for going on The View instead of speaking to the Boy Scouts. I’m sorry, but I’ve got to agree with Stewart—this “controversy” seems more like pundits having nothing to talk about than a genuine controversy. But my criticism of his appearance isn’t that he chose the chronically-interrupting ladies of The View over the Boy Scouts—it’s the fact that I don’t want to relate to my President. I don’t want to feel on his level. I want him to be better than me. In order to have faith in your leader, you need to trust in his competency more than your own.

Look, I know how politics is run these days. You have to relate to the people on a personal level. This is why Mitt Romney had to go hunting and why John Edwards’ $400 haircut was such an issue. It’s why people are drawn to politicians like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama who they feel “connected” to.

Here’s the problem for me, though. I want to trust my President more than I trust myself. I want to be able to say, at the end of the day, whether I disagree or not, he is probably in a better position to make a wise decision than I am. When Presidents put themselves on your level, you are more likely to assume you are better than him.

This trend fascinates me. Why do people want their President to be like them? Is it some sort of vindication for oneself? Or is that we’ve grown so unsophisticated that faith comes from liking someone rather than a robust assessment of their policies and credentials?

I want an expert who wows me with knowledge, not a pizza-and-beer partner. I want a leader, not a colleague. And every time a politician goes on Saturday Night Live or The View, I think it diminishes the respect the office commands a tiny bit. There is a time and place for chumming around with the American people who are fascinated with you as a father and friend more than a President—and it’s called retirement.

Unfortunately, in today’s culture it may be impossible for an election to be won without visiting such venues. Are we electing leaders or are we auditioning best friends like on I Love You Man?

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