Obama’s celebrity could be blinding

Americans shouldn’t elevate his status above rightful scrutiny.

Now that the 2008 presidential election series is over, the media circus surrounding it has shifted its focus to President Barack ObamaâÄôs first days in office. Since the inauguration, and even since his decision to run for president, media outlets have given the new president nothing short of the celebrity treatment. The virtually nonstop coverage of the Obama presidency since the inauguration presents an interesting prospect to consider. We should be careful not to over-brand our political leader to the point where our expectations of him are unrealistic, our scrutiny of him is almost obsessive or our love of him is almost religious. The cult of personality that has arguably surrounded Obama since he first announced his candidacy may now interfere with our ability to judge his leadership. Now that the intense passion of the campaign season is over, we feel itâÄôs time to step back and think about how we should behave with respect to the American president. It would only lead to disaster for our country if we choose to treat our leaders as more than mere men, something worthy of hero worship that blinds us to the reasonability of our expectations and the recognition of their flaws. At the very least, media and public scrutiny of the president should focus primarily on the actions relevant to the future of the republic, rather than the first ladyâÄôs fashion choices or the breed of the White House puppy. We hope that in the near future, as we embark on what are certain to be important changes in the policies of the American government, both liberals and conservatives keep in mind that Obama is still, simply, our president, and deserves the reasonable level of expectations and attention we would afford any other political leader. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Oregon Daily Emerald at the University of Oregon. Please send comments to [email protected]