In one of his latest attempts to get his face on every television network in America before the election, President Obama appeared on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart to plead his case to the hip, young, leftist voters who love that show. Obama claimed he had done so much, "We have done things that some folks don't even know about!"
In a more serious interview, Obama told the Los Angeles Times the economic mess he "inherited" required him to take so many rapid actions that he could not "communicate effectively to the public in any coherent way."
This has to be the most ridiculous spin to emerge to explain the "Why Republicans Massacred Us" question: Obama somehow failed to communicate his "accomplishments." This man has been everywhere from MTV to CNBC to Univision to the entire NBC-Universal slate of channels selling his policies. And when he's not there, the reporters do his bidding regardless. How can a man who was sold to us as an absolutely magic combination of Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt now suggest he was made "incoherent" by the economy?
First of all, in almost everything Obama did, the "inherited" economy always seemed like a lesser priority to other mountains he wanted to climb. That disinterest (also the disinterest in Afghanistan) was telling. But more importantly, perhaps no president in modern times has been granted more forums with more ring-kissing interviewers to explain himself. These people in no way ruined the effectiveness of his communications by asking hardball questions.
The only way Obama's coherence would have been compromised would have been by the viewer being too distracted by the obsequiousness of the interviewer -- from CNBC's John Harwood marveling at Obama's talent at fly-swatting to an awestruck Katie Couric asking, "You're so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken?"
There is another ridiculous narrative that might compete: Try Gov. Ed Rendell's claim that "I think expectations were unreasonably high for Barack Obama." But these are the expectations (SET ITAL) Obama set for himself (END ITAL). His own administration's economists issued a report insisting that without lavishing almost $900 billion on "stimulus," unemployment would rise above 9 percent in 2010. They also proclaimed that if Congress did Obama's will, unemployment would remain under 8 percent.
Oops. Reality is harsh. Now the media are building an entirely different expectation: High unemployment is the "new normal," and everyone should just accept it.