There's really not much more I can add about President Barack Obama's appearance on The Tonight Show Thursday evening. Equating his miserable bowling ability to the Special Olympics has been covered more effectively than anything I can offer.
But I will say his intention to appear on the program was just another example of Obama denigrating the office of the Presidency. The problem with going on a program like The Tonight Show is you get caught up in the atmosphere of jocularity, which doesn't always inspire confidence in the American people. So when Jay Leno ribbed President Obama about his bowling ability, Obama responded in kind with what he figured was some self-deprecating humor. Obviously it misfired badly. Remember, it was the President himself who, just a few weeks ago, declared the US economy was on the verge of collapse. So it's not surprising that some Americans may have trouble reconciling this issue. If we're in such dire straits in this country, why is our President making menial TV appearances?
Obama has also made tactical errors in engaging his media critics. While President Bush never answered his critics (who were far more vitriolic, by the way) Obama constantly invoked the name of Fox News' Sean Hannity during the campaign. The once he assumed the Oval Office, President Obama then conveyed his displeasure with conservative radio titan Rush Limbaugh. The President seemed to think Limbaugh had a hand in influencing Congressional Republicans during negotiations of the economic recovery bill. But since the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity have no legitimate legislative influence, it's a waste of valuable energy and media coverage in answering their criticisms.
I don't have a problem with President Obama wanting to portray himself as a ordinary guy. But the fact he now has an extraordinary job should lend itself to more careful discernment.