The columns are full today of pleas from good writers and thinkers I respect to President Obama to get serious about the financial mess we are in.
One complaint is the campaign swing out west, including the appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the first time a President has ever appeared on such a show. As Kathleen Parker, a respectable 'moderate conservative', writes in the WaPO:
Despite civic rage and political blame -- even death threats aimed at business executives -- there is a carnival air of unseriousness and grotesquery loose upon the land. Life has become one grand, comic burlesque, a vaudevillian game show where plumbers are journalists, war heroes twitter and the president hits the late-night circuit in the midst of crisis.
Obama's appearance on Jay Leno's show Thursday night -- joking lamely that his bowling is "like Special Olympics or something" -- is symptomatic of a broader blending of the serious and the comic that makes sane people feel slightly displaced. Infotainment isn't a new topic, but the lines are becoming increasingly blurred. Tragicomedy, in which gods and men reverse roles, may be an honored dramatic genre, but is this any way to live?
I'm afraid I agree. It just doesn't feel right to me. I wouldn't have liked it if a President McCain had done it either, if it seemed like an attempt to either distract attention or up his popularity ratings. People want the President to be working hard enough on the financial crisis so that he knows about things like huge bonuses for AIG, and not have it sneak up on him, as if he's somehow out of the loop.
There is so much anger and concern out here in the country. It is simply unseemly for Obama to be acting as if everything is just normal, giving his basketball brackets, talking about watching the NCAA tournament on Air Force One with its direct TV, and joking around on Jay Leno. NOBODY CARES ABOUT THAT STUFF. We want you and Geithner to be focusing on the financial crisis. If you don't get the handle on that, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS because nothing else will get done.