Both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush are making the media rounds this week. And while the reasons for their interviews are very different, at the heart of it, their messages are very similar.
And funny enough, the reactions to their interviews are getting similar reactions from critics.
First, let’s take a look at the substance of the interviews.
President Obama’s first post-election interview was broadcast on 60 Minutes on Sunday night. And while President Obama admitted that he could have done some things better, he didn’t take the extra step that many of his critics were looking for.
Obama never talked about how the 2010 election could have been a repudiation of any of his policy proposals. Rather, President Obama made a variety of comments about how policies were communicated to the general public, and about controlling the message.
For former President Bush, his interviews have not been about elections, but about his new book regarding his presidency. He’s talked about his decisions to keep Vice President Dick Cheney on the ticket in 2004, how he felt after Kanye West claimed he hated black people, and how he would have liked to have been treated by his predecessor.
However, President Bush has yet to talk about many of the issues that led to his dismal approval rating in 2008, and how the actions that contributed to that approval rating could have very well paved the way for Barack Obama to the White House.
The reactions to both presidents have surprised me, only because critics of both leaders seem surprised by their responses. Critics actually have been on television wondering out loud why neither of these leaders have admitted more guilt or taken more blame for mistakes.
Did anyone really believe that President Obama was going to announce after a predictable midterm election “shellacking” that everything he proposed for the last two years was wrong?
And did anyone expect President Bush’s memoirs to be a trip down memory lane, admitting that he made several disastrous mistakes in his eight years as president?
Maybe the relentless onslaught of campaign ads has softened viewers’ brains, or maybe critics of both presidents are overly optimistic. But whatever the cause, anyone waiting for any different messaging from either president will be waiting a long, long time.
No one gets elected President of the United States without the ability to see the world the way he or she wants to see it. Love it or hate it, that ability is a requirement of the job. When was the last time you actually expected the leader of the free world to ask for advice, admit when they are wrong, change their mind and react to critics?
And there’s no reason we should begin to think that is going to change any time soon.
- by Dominic Dezzutti