Yesterday I noted that Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers authored an unconvincing column blaming the Obamas for the media freakout over the First Lady's vacation to Spain. By Powers' reasoning, the right-wing will turn pretty much anything into an example of the Obamas' alleged "elitism," so it's stupid for the White House to give conservatives ammunition in the form of a "lavish foreign vacation." My contention is that if, as Powers acknowledges, the right-wing will turn anything (including Dijon mustard, for crying out loud) into an attack on Obama's "elitism," then it makes no sense to worry about how they will view the "optics" because they're just going to scream "out of touch" no matter what you do.
And, conveniently enough, Glenn Beck has helped prove my point.
Last night on Fox News, Beck attacked President Obama for playing a game of pickup basketball with NBA stars. The game was played for an audience of wounded veterans. There were no television cameras or other media allowed. According to Beck, this showed the president is "out of touch with the average American." And just for good measure, he said Obama "prefers arugula," a silly attack that's now three years past its expiration date.
So, is Obama to be faulted for consorting with professional basketball players because he provided ammunition for Beck to attack him as "out of touch"? Or are we to fault the sort of right-wing media culture that enables a deceitful snake like Glenn Beck to pervert something as worthwhile as a basketball game for wounded soldiers and twist it into an attack on his political adversary?
One certainly seems to make more sense than the other.