Monday, February 09, 2009

I Like The Change

Tonight, MY President, Barack Hussein Obama, gave his very first press conference.

Most new presidents bury their first press conferences in the middle of the day so citizens don't see it in the raw. They just see the generously edited sound bits broadcast by a news media going easy on the new guy.

Not MY president! He went balls to the wall, live, in Prime Time, baby!

Good Gawd! We finally have a president who is intelligent, who thinks before he speaks, who takes the time to answer questions in depth instead of spouting arrogant, snarky sound bites in a condescending tone. Hallefuckinglujah!

I also noticed a cosmetic change in the presentation.

He abandoned the Dubya presidential podium and reverted to the old presidential podium.

I'm sure most of you didn't notice and have no idea what I am talking about.

Now, I'm no historian. I haven't done any real research, so most of what I'm putting forth is speculation. OK, all of it.

I'm guessing that the whole concept of a Presidential Podium originated with FDR when the idea was to disguise the fact that he couldn't stand upright without metal braces because he was a polio victim.

What better way to do that than by hiding his lower torso behind a substantial podium? Before that, presidents just stood up and talked wherever they were in front of whatever was put in front of them. No theatrical staging other than some patriotic bunting.

Our own Harry Truman, an unapologetic "bourbon and branch" aficianado, managed to turn the podium into button tufted bar with the president at the tap.

I think he was the first to formalize the practice of hanging the official presidential seal on any podium from which the POTUS was speaking.

Eisenhower certainly continued the practice.

As did JFK whom everyone acknowledges had a HUGE and widely used Presidential Podium.

As did LBJ.

And Nixon...

And Ford, who pioneered the first "modern", semi-phallic podium with the presidential seal bearing blue cap...

Continued by Carter...

And Reagan...

I know it was continued by George Herbert Walket Bush (a.k.a. "41"), but his son has so diluted the name that I couldn't find a single online image of George Herbert Walker standing behind the presidential podium. Seriously.

Clinton I could find...

But when Dubya took office he switched to some slender, wimpy, feminine, flaring, curvy podium with a tiny seal.

Next thing you know we had spent all the surplus of the Clinton years and gone deeply into debt by over-compensating our "manhood" in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So it is nice to see MY PRESIDENT visually disassociating himself from the previous administraion and reasserting the strong visual image of past administrations with the reintroduction of the old podium.


Wrytir said...

"W"'s looks like an ankh. Nice post. I saw most of the press conference and was really quote surprised at the tenor and pace of his delivery changed when he was unscripted. I only point this out because his oratory cemented the vote in the minds of many. Off the cuff, in this unrehearsed environment, the honeymoon bubble burst for me. IMHO, he struggled more than ever to find his words. Not an attack by any means. I love the guy and tried to swing MO for him. Just saying.

Xavier Onassis said...

Wrytir - "Off the cuff, in this unrehearsed environment, the honeymoon bubble burst for me. IMHO, he struggled more than ever to find his words"

I agree that he struggled to "find his words". But that wasn't a problem for me.

That's because he took the time to think about what he was about to say before he opened his mouth.

He didn't have a list of pre-programmed sound bites pre-loaded by handlers and triggered by reporter-fed key-words.

He actually (get ready for this...huge change) thought about the questions, formulated an opinion and gave an intelligent answer!

Holy Fuck! What a revolutionary change!

Wrytir said...

Gah!! "... quite surprised ..." Fat fingers.

And, yes, I agree. He did seem thoughtful. (I *believe* in the guy!!) It was just strange to juxtapose his delivery tonight to the my-hanging-on-his-every-word of the campaign season.

I do look forward to more. President Obama likes to speak and loves an audience. I hope that he does this much more frequently than others in the past, in large part because of these serious times.

He's our captain. He'll see us through it. He'll 'make it so.'

Xavier Onassis said...

Wrytir - "He's our captain. He'll see us through it. He'll 'make it so.'"

I have high hopes, but not unrealistic hopes.

If he just takes a more humble and realistic presence on the world stage, I'll be happy.

If he takes a more diplomatic and engaging approach to international relations, I'll be happy.

If he stops assuming that we can dictate to other sovereign nations what they can and cannot do (without any means to back it up), I'll be happy.

Wrytir said...

I don't have faith in many things, but of those you mentioned, I've already subscribed to them. I believe he will follow through on those points.

And no, my hopes are not unrealistic. He can't do everything, and some troubles just take time to properly resolve.

That said, his fulfilling his promises on the diplomatic front, righting our image globally ... every incremental step or brave leap he makes in that direction will make me happy as well.

It's a wonderful wait-and-see opportunity. Can't wait to watch it evolve.

Keith Sader said...

Ok, before you two start in on the puppies & unicorns, how was the *content* of his answer(s)?

The DLC said...

Dubya's podium looks like a majestic eagle, flying free on the powerful wings of freedom!

May said...

Check it out! Apparently Obama likes to switch it up. Here's a picture of him using Bush's podium:

Awesome post, by the way!

MoxieMamaKC said...

Wow, XO! You are extremely observant. I admit I wasn't staring at his podium, but I did breathe a sigh of relief that even on or off the cuff, the Commander and Chief of the Free World didn't sound like an idiot. That was a lovely change from the last 8 years of having my prime time tv watching interrupted.

emawkc said...

I actually didn't have a problem with the pace of his answers. He didn't really stutter more than a couple of times. Much better than his predecessor.

But I was just surprised by how unchanging and nonhopeful his remarks were. It was interesting how he bemoaned the policies of the previous 8 years and acted like he wasn't a part of it for the past two years.

Demosthenes said...

I, too, was thrilled to have someone at any podium who is thoughtful, articulate, and a whole lot smarter than me. What a change.

Yeah, he stumbled occasionally, searching for the right words. He seemed to be using the news conference as an opportunity to educate and to lay out his very pragmatic thinking on the matter.

And if he came off gloomy, it's because we are in a serious amount of shit right now.