Main image
3rd January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A story in the New York Times last week about President Obama’s TV watching habits set off a buzz among conservative commentators about whether it was appropriate for the White House to release the President’s “must see TV” shows.

Peter Roff, at U.S. News and World Report, wrote a response that should be required reading for any conservative politician, commentator, operative, and activist.

To summarize, the complaints about the piece boiled down to the idea that such revelations – if you can call them that – are unpresidential. That somehow the president’s television preferences are not the business of the American people.

It’s one thing for Obama to appear in a commercial hawking a late-night television show. It’s another thing entirely for the White House to take steps to make it known to the American people what the nation’s chief executive likes to watch in his downtime. In fact, it’s a stroke of brilliance.

What the liberals understand and conservative fail to grasp is that in the age of information everything is media. By disclosing what the president’s favorite television shows are or what his picks for the NCAA brackets may be or what music he likes to listen to, his political team is giving him the opportunity to meet the people where they are, not where they might want them to be.

This is a critically important concept that many Republicans fail to grasp. The country is turned off to politics. Americans think Washington is dysfunctional, that both parties are seeking political advantage, that neither are wedded to principle, and that they are ignoring what is in the country’s best interests in order to position themselves for the next election.

***

Obama was sold to the American people like new and improved laundry soap, the latest model sports car coming out of Detroit or Hollywood’s newest teen idol. The American people met him in places that were essentially on the fringes of the political arena rather than in the middle of it. By talking about what he likes to watch on television, his political team is keeping that conversation going, even stepping it up because – as his approval numbers continue to drop – the ancillary conversations about seemingly extraneous subjects become all the more important. Rather than attack the communications strategy it represents, Republicans would do well to analyze it, understand it and adopt it.

Roff nails it on the head when he discusses the need for conservatives to “meet the people where they are” the way liberals have been doing for generations. It is why, as I pointed out in my last post, we have to embrace popular culture that makes our arguments for us like Hunger Games, Divergent, and to rip one off from Obama, Downton Abbey (see my previous thoughts on that show here and here).

We have to stop viewing this as a culture war, in which we must vanquish the enemy (liberal Hollywood), and start to treat this as a competition.  Let’s embrace and make huge successes of the books, movies and TV shows that carry conservative messages.  At the end of the day, while Hollywood may think they are engaged in a “higher cause” with some of the liberal tripe they serve up, it’s really all about the money.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply