Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama Overexposure

What do Jon and Kate, Speidi, Nickelback and Ann Coulter have in common? They suffer from a cultural phenomenon that is akin to having an itchy skin rash.

It’s called being overexposed and no one in the public spotlight wants to suffer from its debilitating effects.

Come this Sunday, the president may need some Calamine lotion.

Since President Obama’s Health Care Plan has not been greeted with accolades but with resistance, (which quickly turned into downright skepticism) Barack has been on the offensive. He spoke in front of both Houses of Congress last week to push for Health Care Reform, even invoking Teddy Kennedy's name to punctuate the immediacy and urgency of his plan.

But the president’s eloquent speech has not translated into a huge bump in the polls. Almost half of the American public is not sold on Health Care Reform. So what is Obama to do? The White House announced yesterday that Obama would take his message to the American people…again…by going on television.

Be ready to start applying the cortisone cream.

This Sunday, unless you’re watching HGTV or ESPN, it will be hard to miss the president. He will appear on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, Meet the Press on NBC, as well as Face the Nation on CBS. In between the major networks, he will do interviews with CNN and Univision.

That’s a lot of TV. That’s a lot of exposure. Too much, in my opinion. Barack’s message is getting lost in his own limelight. What this administration has to learn is how to handle the magnitude and his rock star quality that got him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So far, they’ve overexposed a man that should not have to go on every major network to get his message across.

Most presidents since the television era began have had all the presence and stiffness of a cardboard cut out – or worse. Comedians, late night talk shows and regular people mock them because they are utterly inept at connecting with the public. Not this president. Not since JFK have we seen someone who electrifies the podium.

But like chocolate or fantasy football, too much is not a good thing.

For the record, President Obama has done 114 interviews in his first seven months in office compared to 37 interviews by former president George W. Bush and 41 by Bill Clinton. I was no math major, but Obama has been on almost four times than Dubya.

Barack Obama is a Hollywood casting agent’s dream for a calm, assured presence on camera. (As long as there is a teleprompter.) But the main rule of Hollywood success, and to a lesser degree, political success, is not to be overexposed. People tire of you then turn a deaf ear to your message

Sunday, Barack will reach that level and the America public will be itching for a new message.

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