ZURAWIK: “angry for letting myself believe in the TV imagery of a night in Grant Park in November”

ZURAWIK: “Not only isn’t Obama the gifted TV performer he seemed to be during the 2008 campaign, TV is now one of his worst enemies.

My first fuzzy notion of this idea came while I watched Obama address the nation after the debt ceiling compromise with its crackpot, kick-the-can centerpiece of a so-called Super Committee. Obama had performed pitifully during the crisis, and yet, here he was on TV thinking he could spin the economic embarrassment as “Good President Battles Bad Congress” or Responsible Adult reins in Mean, Selfish Children.”

But as I looked at the screen, I couldn’t help thinking how diminished Obama looked and how thin his voice sounded. I wondered if there actually was something happening physically with him.

So, I went back to a DVD I have of him speaking on election night 2008 in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Of course, I lost myself in a  flood memories as I watched. I remembered how that TV moment sent thousands of college students and others into the streets of Baltimore celebrating. And it was the TV moment, not just the election victory. Young viewers watching him onscreen wanted to share that energy in a communal, physical sense with others.

Viewing him now on TV in his promise-not-realized persona made me both sad for what might have been and angry for letting myself believe in the TV imagery of a night in Grant Park in November.


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