The President of cool, calm and thoughtful
If there was a message, it was about tone. Opinion polls seem to show that whatever people think of his policies, people like the president. His calm and thoughtful manner, the impression that he will look at a picture in the round, rather than make a knee-jerk judgement, seems to go down well. This interview showed him as almost professorial, like a distinguished figure from a think-tank, compared with the Obama who roused the troops when he talked to the unions, or indeed when he addressed Congress. The message is that Obama is still keeping his cool, and sticking to long-term goals.
Mardell has only been BBC blogging for a few weeks but it is quite clear that he is attempting to out Dionne E J Dionne himself in reaching for that coveted place in Private Eye’s OBN spot. The gospel according to Mardell is crystal clear. Here is a cool,calm, reasonable guy just trying to do his best to keep his fellow Americans healthy by setting up a government controlled insurance option and a handful of wingnuts were dominating the media and drowning out reasonable debate
Indeed, in the four or five speeches I heard on the radio, details of tax rises and healthcare were hardly mentioned: the theme was “recapturing America” from “tyranny” and regaining “freedom”.
Mardell’s answer? Obama needs to “rise above” the 24 hour news cycle, focus on strategy and leave his “foot soldiers” (orchestrated, one assumes, by David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel) to deal with things at the tactical level.
The implication here is that the US media (TV and print) is allied with Obama’s opponents in ferociously undermining the administration’s healthcare proposals….if only! The big guns of the US media (with the exception of Murdoch’s Fox channel and his papers) are as dominated by the left as the BBC over here. The Tea Party healthcare protests stemmed from a similar spontaneous grassroots movement opposing the magnitude huge burden of debt being placed on future generations by the Obama/Pelosi/Reid stimulus. The Tea Parties had been happening for months, well reported in the blogosphere but generally ignored by the US media (and, naturally, the BBC)
Whilst painting the opponents of Obamacare as a noisy, angry minority Mardell conveniently forgets the fact that most polls are currently reporting the USA as either evenly divided or with a slight majority against the proposals..
But then the US networks and the Beeb, so meticulous in reporting anti Bush demos, Hurricane disasters and corrupt Republican politicians, suddenly developed tunnel vision once the Democrats took over. Hence little or nothing was reported about the background of Obama’s prospective “Green Czar” Van Jones until the blogosphere pushed it forward. To be fair to Mardell it was bubbling just before he arrived (ignored by Justin Webb, of course, until Jones resigned) but nothing about the current ACORN scandal from either Mardell or, apparently, BBC News.
No doubt about it – apparatchnik Mardell toeing the BBC line in the USA as diligently as he did in Europe….