John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Photo Op Presidency

Posted on March 18, 2009

Photo Op Presidency


            I was at the gym yesterday morning, and I saw Barack Obama on ESPN, spending some quality time with the guys making his picks for the NCAA tournament.  He didn’t just quickly make his picks.  He slowly but surely wrote them down and explained each one.


            Later on tonight, he will be the first President to ever be on a late night talk show, appearing with Jay Leno before he goes Prime Time.


            Every time I go to the airport, I usually stop by the magazine rack to see what the latest news is.  The last couple of times, I have been stunned to see how many magazine covers have Barack Obama’s smiling face.  And they are all different pictures taken at different times.


            Our new President sure likes to be in the news.  He likes to hit different news outlets.  He likes to get his picture taken.


            I have a question for him.  If he has so much time to pose for pictures, why hasn’t he come with a real plan to fix the banking crisis?


            If he can take the time to joke with Jay Leno, why doesn’t he have time to flush out his housing proposal?


            He has so much time to fill out his NCAA bracket, can he spend some time figuring out why his Administration wanted to make it easier for AIG executives to get bonuses with taxpayer money?


            When I worked for Speaker Hastert, he didn’t like to do too many press conferences or photo shoots. He was too busy negotiating with members to get stuff good stuff done for the American people.  He used to call all the press stuff hanging tinsel on a tree. 


            Mr. Obama has another view.  From his perspective, the photo-ops are an important and perhaps most important part of his Presidency.


            His staff isn’t all hired up yet, his press secretary is gleefully picking fights with Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney, and his Treasury Secretary is having trouble establishing his credibility.  But Mr. Obama seems to govern with a light touch on the wheel, more satisfied to play to the cameras than to get actual work done.


            You can call the Obama Administration the first true photo-op Presidency.  Let’s see if it works.