Anticipating the content of President Obama’s farewell speech tonight
By Dave Andrusko
The headline in a story in today’s Christian Science Monitor reads, “What will Obama’s farewell speech look like?” As you would anticipate after eight+ years of fawning media coverage, Gretel Kauffman contrasts what she expects will be Obama’s stateman’s-like approach tonight in Chicago with “the rowdy victory rallies of the president-elect.”
After 567 words of unvarnished praise for Obama and assorted and sundry cheap shots at President-elect Donald Trump, Kauffman ends with this:
Oftentimes, presidents delivering farewell addresses are handing off the White House to a president-elect of a different party with different political beliefs, Gerhard Peters, co-director of the American Presidency Project, told NPR.
Still, these presidents are typically “very graceful to their successor,” he said. “And I’d expect President Obama to be, even though this has been a very political climate, this transition.”
We’ll see. I would wager a pretty penny that President Obama will spend equal time praising himself and low-balling his successor. I hope, but do not anticipate, that I will be proven wrong.
As Mr. Obama exits, it is only fitting that the chorus of halleluiahs that greeted his arrival are matched with equally outlandish praise for his accomplishments. Remember way back (thanks here to Newsbusters’s Rich Noyes)
When Obama ran for President four years later, news reporters led the cheers. “It’s almost hard to remain objective because it’s infectious, the energy, I think,” then-NBC reporter Lee Cowan confessed in an MSNBC.com video posted January 7, 2008. On CNN a few days later, Politico editor John Harris admitted: “A couple years ago, you would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back — ‘Oh, he’s so impressive, he’s so charismatic,’ and we’re kind of like, ‘Down, boy.’”
As a candidate, the Associated Press celebrated Obama as “something special,” while as President-elect, the Washington Post drooled over his “chiseled pectorals,” on display during a vacation in Hawaii. As President, reporters touted his “prodigious talents,” his “amazing legislative agenda,” and his “huge achievements.” And as an individual, journalists fawned over Obama, calling him “one of our brightest presidents,” a “huge visionary,” “the perfect American,” “our national poet,” and “the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House.”
And those were the criticisms (just kidding). What about now , as his second term comes to a conclusion?
Well, no better example of the reverential treatment could be offer than last Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine. Newsbusters’ Tim Graham tells us
All this liberal talk about the press heroically holding presidents accountable is easily undermined by Sunday’s edition of The Washington Post Magazine. The Post can’t help but declare that they are available for rental (or full ownership) by the Obama White House with a 12-page spread of nostalgic Obama photos….taken by White House staff photographer Pete Souza. The headline was “The Obama Years: during his two terms, the sources of a president’s strength were always on display.” True. One source of Obama’s strength was basically owning The Washington Post.
It started with a two-page hand-to-face White House photo of Obama that was the same image CNN lovingly used in its two-hour special on his “legacy.” …
Post Magazine articles editor Marcia Davis wrote an essay to accompany the photo album, a portrait in Cuddling Politicians And Whispering Sweet Nothings. The Davis essay carried its own small headline: “He amazed with his range. And graced us with his passion. He confounded, too.”
Reminiscent of the Old Faithful Geyser, the same newspaper that hourly erupts with praise for our outgoing 44th President is incapable of writing a semi-civil paragraph about our incoming 45th President.
Good thing President-elect Trump has Twitter.