Sunday, December 28, 2008

The O'Bubble 

The "bubble" is closing in on Barack Obama, and it is getting on his nerves. I sympathize with him, and hope that he succeeds in enlarging the president's zone of privacy. It would be good for him, his presidency, and the country. The only people it would be bad for are the media, who routinely confuse the "public's right to know" with their own desire to tell. But why should we care? Do we really get better service from our president because every moment of his life outside of his private quarters is subject to our scrutiny? Who cares if he dodges the press pool to go to a water park with his daughter? Assuming that time doing fun things with his family recharges Barack Obama as it does many other fathers, ought we not want that for our president?

As for giving up the Blackberry, do we really want our president to be deprived of the managerial power of email because it is more discoverable than a telephone conversation or a face-to-face meeting? If the Republicans were smart about playing the long game -- which they manifestly are not -- they would propose legislation carving out email to and from presidents from legal discovery, Congressional investigation, or preservation under records statutes. Such a rule need not immunize official communications merely because they are sent by email, but ought to exclude conversational email. I can imagine that the obvious benefit -- allowing the president to bypass his gatekeepers or the chain of command and have candid conversations with actual people -- would far outweigh the increased accountability, if that is what it is, that comes from treating all email as an official record.

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.


By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Dec 28, 03:26:00 PM:

"it is getting on his nerves"

Boo hoo. He should have looked at the job description before he applied.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 03:51:00 PM:

Such a rule need not immunize official communications merely because they are sent by email, but ought to exclude conversational email.

A logical option in a perfect, non-hypocritical world. But you know that while Democrats would immediately go along with giving this option to Obama and the media would at best offer up one or two hypothetical warnings, as soon as a Republican was back in the White House, those conversational e-mails would suddenly become as sinister as Nixon's Watergate tapes and the demand for total message transparency would become a key talking point of both the Democrats and the big media outlets.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 03:54:00 PM:

During the first week in Hawaii, Obama has had to deal with paparazzi waiting in the distance, photographing him shirtless outside his beachfront vacation home and later while spreading his grandmother’s ashes at the Pacific coast.

Nonsense. That 'paparazzi' was an obviously staged photo op. Close enough to take a photo is close enough for a rifle shot. The Secret Service knows that and would never allow anyone not cleared to have such an observation post to linger in such a location for too long.

Bush was criticized for being in 'the bubble.' Now it's Obama's turn, yet strangely it's not his own fault. Funny how that is...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 03:57:00 PM:

Here's my sophisticated response to "Barry's" complaint in 6 words:

"Winning is a bitch, ain't it?"  

By Blogger Maggie Goff, at Sun Dec 28, 04:20:00 PM:

This is everywhere in government. I worked in the City library as a library assistant. Anyone at all could go to city hall and request all emails sent by me, and have access to my employee file. Nosy Parkers took advantage of that.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 04:25:00 PM:

I understand that serving the people is tough, but can he really be surprised by that? Ok, he was surprised that Jeremiah Wright would be controversial so I guess it´s possible.

Obama seems to complain a lot about the press and in that area I do not sympathize at all. It has been evident for some time that Obama NEVER likes to answer questions or explain himself. Sorry, he is not King, he is President - he wanted the job so badly and so did his wife! - and Presidents are always scrutinized. It may sometimes even be counterproductive but what do you propose to do? Put him in a bubble of his own choosing? His predecessor certainly was relentlessly scrutinized and got criticised for being "secretive" anyway - maybe even by Obama himself.  

By Blogger Brad, at Sun Dec 28, 04:34:00 PM:


There are limits to a President's privacy, as Hollywood has assured us for thirty-odd years re: Nixon.  

By Blogger NahnCee, at Sun Dec 28, 04:38:00 PM:

"Boo hoo. He should have looked at the job description before he applied."

He was too busy looking at the pay scale to pay attention to the job description.

I'm reading this story as a kind of open letter like Arab media are so fond of printing. The dinosaur media are not-so-subtly telling B.Hussein that they have noticed him pulling back from their fond embrace and they don't like it. The sub-message is, "We made you President and we can take it away from you if you don't cooperate." It remains to be seen whether or not Obama agrees that the NY Times et al are resposible for his being elected and therefore he owes them from now on out.  

By Blogger Sentenza, at Sun Dec 28, 05:56:00 PM:

Boo frikkin hoo.

If he doesn't want to run with the big dogs he should get off the porch.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 06:28:00 PM:

I agree that the President, regardless of who it is, should have more privacy. But I think it's stupid of Obama to whine about it now. He knew what he was getting into, or should have. Neither he or any of his democrat cohorts seemed to care about media encroachments of George Bush's privacy. I hope the media doesn't take a sympathetic tone toward Obama on this, they certainly have not done so toward President Bush.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 07:01:00 PM:

Bo'n'Mo merchandized themselves to the media at mainstream stars. If you dance with Ellen Degeneres on her show as a candidate, you can't claim much need for dignity as The Elected One.

While I could have done without the image of The One's sun-kissed pecs, I do not like the way he has already begun to lecture reporters on what they may and may not ask. But they acted like puppies at his feet, so no wonder he scolds and swats them like puppies.

BO'n'MO -- they signed the celebrity contract and it's going to be a long four years for them and us.  

By Blogger SR, at Sun Dec 28, 07:58:00 PM:

The guy ran for and won the presidency nearly exclusively based upon being a rock star-like celebrity.
People magazine and the National Enquirer comes with the territory.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Dec 28, 08:24:00 PM:

OK, "sympathy" was probably not a great word, because it got you guys focused on whether we actually should sympathize for Barack Obama. Not my main point, even though -- my bad -- I led with it. Almost none of you have commented on the interesting question, which is whether we should try, as a matter of policy, to create more room for our president to function in private, both for his own peace of mind (with regard to vacations and such) and in deliberations on official business. Moreover, I think it would be an interesting Republican maneuver to argue that Obama's conversational emails should be privileged, in effect. Not only would it put the Congressional Dems in a strange position, but it would then benefit the next Republican president as well. Finally, it would drive the mainstream media completely batshit, which is always entertaining. What say you?  

By Blogger NahnCee, at Sun Dec 28, 08:49:00 PM:

Do you *really* think this particular President elect should be allowed to function in private when he takes a "vacation" to, say, Chicago to say hello to his old friend Ray Blagowhosit?

When Obama functions in private we start seeing stuff like overseas donations flooding into his campaign from overseas and ACORN stuffing ballot boxes with dead people's names to elect him.

I suppose from a humanitarian standpoint, having some privacy may be a good idea. But for this particular scaley creature, I want lie detector leads on those pec's every instant of every day reporting back his slightest dishonest hiccup.

And oh, BTW, what's with the long-distance photo's? He *had* to have approved those because the Secret Service is neglecting their duty otherwise, allowing photographers to get within sniper range.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Dec 28, 09:03:00 PM:

Obviously, the media were not the people he thought they were....

Seriously, though...if there were ever a man who deserves to be watched closely, it is a man who is elected under the guidance of a radical elite and with the financing of offshore donors.

I suspect that there will be a lot to explain when the facts ever come out...if they ever do.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 09:07:00 PM:

That Obama shot was planned. Hes going to haver to grow a thick skin if he is going to survive one term.

His team is already downplaying the expectations, even for the inaguration, from 6 million down to a million, from solving the economy, to "its going to be a long deep recession". All the better to claim credit later.

But he is already being interviewed for involvement in two separate felony investigations, and he is not even in office yet. (Blago and Rezko - turns out even his HOUSE is in Rezko's attorney's name).

Chicago politics may not withstand national scrutiny.  

By Blogger Jim, at Sun Dec 28, 09:31:00 PM:

About the President and email:

Is that something that we really want the President to have access to? I get the funny feeling (maybe I'm paranoid) that other countries are just as good as we are at rifling through the electronic ether.

I don't know what value political intelligence* would be to foreign agents, but I'm guessing it's pretty high.

*[assuming the foreign policy stuff would be handled through the military's hopefully more secure network]  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 09:53:00 PM:

Come on guys, can't he just finish eating his waffle?  

By Blogger North Dallas Thirty, at Sun Dec 28, 09:55:00 PM:

Almost none of you have commented on the interesting question, which is whether we should try, as a matter of policy, to create more room for our president to function in private, both for his own peace of mind (with regard to vacations and such) and in deliberations on official business.

Yes, we should.

That being said, Obama made a deal with the devil to win an election. Seeing him writhe and squirm as the yellow press that he has used to attack his opponents by proxy is used against him has only slightly less piquant irony than Robespierre dying by the guillotine.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 10:43:00 PM:

As to err we must, let's err on the side of too much public scrutiny instead of too little.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 11:03:00 PM:

Obama's emails should have all the privacy of Ryan's divorce records.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 28, 11:12:00 PM:

"Next month, he will become one of only a handful of modern presidents who has not endured a similar bubble as a governor or top U.S. official before taking office."

Hmm, is that why most presidents are Governors and not one term Jr. Senators?

See, there may be a little something more to the job than reading a good speech.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 29, 12:33:00 AM:

Presidential communication should be maintained for public consumption. All too often our historical records are lost or destroyed when the record shows that the indiviudal was breaking the law.

Obama's candid conversations with actual people would be interesting to review. Just how many times did he and his staff change their tune about contacting the Illinois Govenor? How many times did Bill tell us things that were just candid conversations? I did not have sex with that girl! The answer depends on what your defination of is is.

Keep communication in the open.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 29, 12:47:00 AM:

All presidents struggle with the bubble, so O gets no special sympathy from me. I'm inclined to give the man his space, though, because I don't care about his man-boobs or his ice cream. But two things make me say "hell no, he deserves no privacy":

(1) Obama won by being a celebrity. He used the adulation of the media to his advantage. And now he wants Time, Newsweek, the NY Times, and the Washington Post - all of which basically transformed themselves into Tiger Beat for Obama for the past 18 months - to STOP treating him like a celebrity? Fat chance.

(2) Every time someone suggests anything more than basic civility towards Obama, I run the suggestion through my Daily Kos filter: what would someone at the Daily Kos do if we substituted Bush's name for Obama's? Is there any chance they'd want to respect Bush's privacy?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 29, 05:16:00 AM:

Would it be good for the country though, if the presidents private mails were privileged? Perhaps, provided that these communications can be made absolutely safe. But will any legislation to that effect will make much of a difference? Will not the cries of "release the records" be raised anyway?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 29, 05:17:00 AM:

Obama, of all people, should have ZERO privacy, and neither should any member of his family. That includes his daughters, his Wife, and all the various hangers on that are a huge part of his life (he wrote about them in his book).

Obama is DANGEROUS. He heads a messianic, personal organization devoted HIMSELF as the "savior" of America and the World. He runs this entirely separately from the Democratic Party, out of his own personal staff.

He has dangerous ambitions, comes from a Muslim background, has no sense or love for America, has surrounded himself with bigots and anti-American radicals at every turn, has secret tapes of himself and Michelle indulging in various anti-Semitic and Anti-American rhetoric (the Rashid Khalidi tapes the LAT is sitting on).

I want every word, utterance, meeting, activity, sigh, or prayer recorded. Particularly if he's praying to Allah, or visiting a Mosque.

America deserves to know who's side he's on (well, he's already said he would side with Muslims over America if there was another terror attack, he wrote it in his second book). But certainly we need to know every little detail.

And particularly every ugly scandal, rumor, unflattering remark, stupid move, and everything else Obama does that makes him look bad.

The man is regarded by the Media and the masses as a living God. People actually WORSHIP him. For the good of the nation he needs taking down a peg or two.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Dec 29, 06:24:00 AM:

He should lose the Blackberry. It is creepy the way he thinks he needs that thing.

He wanted the job, did whatever he had to do to get it and now it owns him.

Cry me a river..Grow up Obama and deal with it.  

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