Monday, March 23

Pat Buchanan opens my eyes. No, Really.

Pat Buchanan doesn't like the apparent casual nature of Barack Obama's presidency. And before I join Chris Matthews in a knee-jerk giggle to the old Latin-Mass lover, I think he has a point. I made this video, which, I'm sure, Pat Buchanan has watched many times just so he can boogie to the Ting Tings:

But watching Pat catch flak for his opinion made me think a bit more about why Obama has made the choice to make the presidency more informal. It runs deeper than just appealing to young people. I was on a train in the past two weeks and gawd, are those college students today addicted to their I-phones. That's obvious, but what are they doing with them? Texting friends. People they choose to be in touch with electronically.

I've noticed a change in my own internet behavior in the past two months. I'm writing this at 2:27 in the afternoon, and true story--I have not checked my actual email inbox today yet. I have email notification and watched the messages as they have come in, but I haven't actually opened and read a single one yet.

But I have read my tweets. And sent out two myself.

You guys know I'm a Twitter believer. But I have come to see that the big bulletin board of people I WORK with on the blogs is the real essential part of my day, more than even email. Therefore, I can't imagine giving up a larger portion of my life to text messaging. Good god, how do people with those little devices ever get anything else done? (I can testify that on a train they don't.)

If Barack Obama is going to tap into the political power of the Iphone/Twitter/text generation, he has to be desirable enough on that level that he will be let into that world. It's a scary and very predictable thing that in a world awash in information, we are all becoming that selective in what kind of information we allow onto our screens.

Is it going too far to say that Obama has to be the kind of President who is also a Facebook Friend in order to have his voice heard? Excellent question, Mister Buchanan, but no matter how we answer:



  1. I go nowhere other than the doctor and the grocery store. My life is lived in front of this screen and watching TV. But one of the most annoying things to me is numbers of grocery shoppers wearing some gadget in their ear, and talking loudly as if they were in a cubicle at work. I often think someone is talking to me as they cruise up behind me pushing their cart. I turn and say, "Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?" And then I realize I am channeling Travis Bickle from the movie "Taxi Driver." And I feel about that annoyed. Were I armed to the teeth there would be blood in the aisles at the grocery store.

    I like the fact that President Obama is talking to us, so often and in so many ways. I like his less buttoned up image. Love the vegi garden in the WH grounds. Love Michelle. And Newt can kiss my ass.

    Olbermann is claiming that twitter has a fake Olbermann. Any truth to that? Rachel too.

  2. I've also had a hard time adjusting to things like cell phones and Twitter. I'll add blackberries and the like to that list, too. Hate being interrupted, while I'm talking to someone, so that he can check the e-mail that came in on his blackberry. Which no doubt is the latest twitter from Christopher Walken (scroll to the bottom to see what I mean).

    Never thought there'd come a day when I say this, but there's something to be said for delayed gratification.

  3. If Pat Buchanan would spend a little time rocking out to The Ting Tings, maybe he wouldn't be so crabby all the damn time.

  4. I try to keep my internet existence much more minimal than other people. I refuse to use Tweeter and I only have social networking sites to showcase my music and keep in touch with friends who live far away.

    But if Obama wishes to appeal to that demographic, I suppose he'll have to if he wants them to keep voting for him in the future.

  5. i like the fact that he is accessable tho i'm still at sea over a lot of the technology.

  6. Could it be Obama is deliberately trying to re-frame the presidency, to make it less imperial and more accountable? We just suffered though 8 years of The President Isn't Like the Rest of Us (aka The President Can do Whatever the Fuck He Wants). I find it a hopeful sign that Obama is obviously working hard at reminding people the President is a person, an actual human being who needs contacts outside the White House bubble, and who is accountable to the American people.

  7. I believe that Nan is correct. This is definitely the time to deconstruct the powers of the Imperial President, and I, too, think President Obama is consciously trying to do that.

    Plus, his personal style seems to be far more down-to-earth and less ceremonial than most former presidents. Although I bet there are times when he wishes could assume all the powers of a medieval pope when dealing with the more infantile obstructionists in the Party of No!

    As for Pat Buchanan, something tells me that it will take stronger medicine than The Ting Tings to turn him from the Dark Side.


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