Leave the Kids Out of It, Mr. President

Mr. wOw wonders: What does the president’s daughter have to do with the Gulf oil spill?

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

It’s not that Mr. wOw dislikes children, but …

Did I need to hear President Obama drag his 11-year-old daughter, Malia, into the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster? “Daddy, have they plugged the spill?” said Malia to her busy daddy earlier this week.

Obama spilled this bit of homey gossip during his long, boring and dissatisfying press conference on the oil spill and what he and his administration are doing about it.

Now, I’m not sure what Obama could have done differently, or how he might personally plug the hole that is leaking maybe 20,000 barrels of oil a day. Perhaps he is doing his best. Should he scuba dive down there himself?

But, as usual, I find his dispassionate distance, his vaunted cool, his slightly annoyed, lawyer-like presentation, his passivity, extremely annoying. I’m no cowboy-ish, flag-waving, fist-pumping patriot type. But even Mr. wOw needs his president to seem a bit more “present.” When he said, blithely, that he had no idea if Elizabeth Birnbaum, the head of Minerals Management Service (aka the government’s top oil regulator), had been fired or had resigned, I had to wonder – didn’t know? What? Somebody else fired her and forgot to tell you?

Obama himself said – and this is a direct quote – “I had a whole bunch of other stuff going on. Come on … I don’t know, I’m telling you I found out this morning.” Well, I’m telling you, Mr. President, be more prepared.

But then came the true moment of embarrassed writhing for Mr. W. – little Malia coming in and plaintively inquiring on all that gushing oil.

Give me a break. Bleh! I’m sure it’s true, and it’s lovely Malia cares, but who the hell else cares? (And most Republicans I’ve talked to think Obama just made the tale up!) It’s like discussions about Michelle. I didn’t vote for her, couldn’t care less what she thinks.

I guess this was supposed to be a humanizing moment, but Mr. wOw found it achingly obvious, awkward and too Jimmy Carter-like for comfort. Or worse – too Sarah Palin-like. Memo to politicians: I don’t care about your wives, husbands, parents, children (handicapped or not, Sarah) pets or neighbors. And if you feel the need to use or fall back on any of that, rethink your career. Become a carnival barker.

I voted for Obama. I want him to succeed. But damn! Go to acting school – pretend you get all fired up. Light a mental firecracker.

And please, leave the kids out of it.

Comments are closed.