Yesterday, Michael Barone reported that the Baltimore Sun’s television critic David Zurawik lambasted the White House for excluding “local press from the pool coverage of Obama’s recent San Francisco fundraiser [and] Obama for appearing on Jay Leno’s program.”
Zurawik asks us to “check out” the “scripted video exchange about GOP challengers between Obama and his NBC straight man, Leno“:
I used to be merely annoyed by the way some of my colleagues in the press who were so savvy on so many other political matters fell for such phony TV scripted interplay designed to let the president score political points and reach a mass audience free and clear with his message.
But, you know what, with all the pain that so many millions of Americans are experiencing these days, it is way past annoying. It’s outrageous for our president to be playing these calculated, dippy, little TV games when so many of us are in such need of real leadership.
Yes, we are in need of real leadership and the president has failed to provide it. And sometimes, alas, it seems that none of the candidates for the Republican nomination has demonstrated the intestinal fortitude and seriousness of purpose to lead at a time of economic uncertainty at home and increasing turmoil abroad.
“This country,” John Podhoretz reminds us, “is in terrible shape“:
The GOP electorate and the American people . . . know it. You know it. They want solutions. You’re providing comedy.
This is a serious time. It requires serious leaders. Where’s the gravity?
The reason that many on the Right have spent the year hunting somewhere, anywhere, for better candidates to challenge President Obama is becoming ever more plain with each passing day.
Thirty-six years ago, when Republicans were smarting from the shellacking they suffering in the 1974 mid-terms, the man who would later become the greatest domestic policy president of the century encouraged conservatives to be bold and forward-looking:
Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?
Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.
Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.
It is time to reassert our principles and raise them to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”
Paul Ryan’s leadership, his successful efforts to craft reform proposals, to defend them passionately and eloquently, is one sign of a revitalized party, but our presidential candidates seem sometimes to forget they need to be bold and to sound serious about the crises facing our country.
We need real leadership to clean up the messes that the incumbent administration had made and augmented. Republican candidates need not only raise a banner painted in bold colors, but also to show how that bright banner will guide their administration, how they, once elected, have the wherewithal to champion the changes America needs.