The end may finally be in sight for Barack Obama’s long honeymoon with the media. It appears that some journalists, now that they have helped elect the inexperienced Illinois senator to the nation’s highest office, are actually starting to do their jobs.
And the president-elect seems just a bit miffed at the treatment. After all, why start now?
During the campaign, Obama operative Greg Craig released a detailed memo exploding opponent Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy pretensions, saying her credentials were exaggerated and her positions unsupported by the record. The New York senator now, however, is the centerpiece (along with Bush-era appointee Robert Gates) of Obama’s concept of foreign-policy “change we can believe in.”
While representatives of the Fourth Estate were reluctant before Election Day to ask Obama anything tougher than “How does it feel to be such a symbol of American goodness?,” now they see Team Obama starting to enact “four more years” of Bush policies and are beginning, albeit with reluctant throat-clearing, to ask, “What gives?”
On Monday, a reporter asked:
You talked about the importance just now of having different voices and robust debate within your administration, but again going back to the campaign, you were asked and talked about the qualifications of the — now your nominee for secretary of state and you belittled her travels around the world, equated it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I’m wondering if you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring?
A perfectly fair question, something Obama evidently is unused to, if we go by his ad hominem answer:
I think this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you’re having fun.
Some members of the media are no longer laughing. One is CNN’s Campbell Brown, who writes with the icy passion of a jilted lover:
Mr. President-elect, reporters we hope are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it.
That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable, but this isn’t about the media, it’s about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn’t.
Apparently, as you made clear Monday, you didn’t mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So what else didn’t you mean?
Obama’s condescending comment brings to mind his earlier one calling a Detroit reporter “Sweetie.” One hopes Obama learns quickly that the campaign is over, and soon it will be time to govern. We know he’s good at the one; time will tell whether he’s as adept at the other.
Concerning the Oval Office, Obama may want to bear in mind a relevant comment from Star Trek‘s Mr. Spock. “You may find that having is not so nearly pleasing a thing as wanting,” the Vulcan first officer said. “It is not logical, but it is often true.”