President Obama never disappoints. When the monthly unemployment rate fails to drop, forget it. What’s important is the number of jobs created. But when the rate actually does drop, forget the growth (or lack of it) in jobs. It’s the rate that matters. And don’t blame Obama for the persistence of slow economic growth and high joblessness. That’s the “new normal.” As for the millions of dropouts from the job market, that’s no big deal, hardly worth more than a passing mention.
Full credit is due Obama for his role in the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. He was cleverly “leading from behind.” But the killing of the American ambassador to Libya and three others in Benghazi—the president bears no responsibility for that. Perish the thought.
Meanwhile, in the months before his reelection in November, Obama doled out government favors to Democratic interest groups like unions, Hispanics, teachers, and single women. This may have looked like shameless exploitation of his high office, but it really was unusually skillful politicking by a master of the game.
My drift here ought to be obvious. I’m referring to the way the media treat Obama. It’s not always adoring. It’s intermittently fair and even-handed. But overall, what’s distinctive about the press coverage of Obama is the absence of fault-finding, criticism, and dogged questioning. And when Obama makes excuses, as he often does, the media tend to echo them.
No president in my lifetime has been covered so favorably and so gingerly. Never has the press corps been so unwilling to pursue stories that might cast the president in an unflattering light. As a group, the media pride themselves on taking an adversarial approach to politicians and government officials. But in Obama’s case, the press acts like a helpmate.