“The Smile”- A Perfect Presidential Nickname
Presidents have nicknames.Clintonwas” Bubba” or “Slick Willy,” if you didn’t like him. ”The Comeback Kid” if you did. Reagan was “Dutch” from his sportscaster days or “The Gipper” from the movies. But love him or hate him you had to admit Reagan was “The Great Communicator.”
President Obama should have a nickname from our side. Words mean something we are reminded all the time. So I am going to name him “The Smile.”
If you watch him at “town meetings” when he’s pressing his agenda and making statements that go unchallenged from the adoring crowds, he comes across as calm, reassuring and easy going while he’s attempting to dismantle American capitalism. His answer to everything is to smile.
From my perspective in Hollywood, I see that people respond to him like they do to a movie star. It’s the face, the eyes, the smile, not what he says. This phenomenon shows up in the polls. His personal popularity holds around 60%, but if you ask about specific policies, Americans don’t agree with him. Americans by wide margins do not want to closeGuantanamo, are against affirmative action, and against late term abortion. The majority want him to cancel the stimulus and hate the bailouts!
But out here inL.A.we understand this. Star quality is not scientific. We just know it when we see it. Fans react to a star with an adoration which makes them buys tickets to movies and buy the DVD so they can watch it over and over. Just listen to the fans screams for the stars on the red carpet at the awards shows.
President Obama’s crowds in the campaign and his town meetings have the same reaction. All he has to do is smile.
Unfortunately, journalists have been reacting the same way. They remind me of adoring teenagers for Robert Pattison in “Twilight,” Zach Efron in “High School Musical” or Chris Pine in “Star Trek.”
The mainstream media (or as Rush says, the state-run media!) have fallen in love with his smile. If they were acting like real journalists they would ask tough questions and do investigative reporting on his proposals and statements. Instead, at so-called press conferences, they ask mushy questions that allow him to pontificate. No one challenges him like they did President Bush. Surprise, surprise! At some point they should be embarrassed that they’re not doing their job. But so far they’re not.
I nicknamed him “The Smile” when I thought back to an episode of “Law and Order Criminal Intent.” A world famous model played by Brook Shields was referred to as “The Smile” It fit. A model doesn’t have to say anything.
The reaction to President Obama also reminded me of the movie “The Way We Were.” Robert Redford played Hubbell Gardner, the golden boy every girl fell in love with, including Barbara Streisand. He wrote a novel with a sad and prophetic line “Everything came too easily to him.”
That is how I see President Obama. His meteoric rise to power from state government to U.S. Senate was too fast. Once he got there, he spent all his time running for President. His apostles devoted themselves to his rise. All hopes were invested in him. Oprah fell for him too. When anyone, like Hillary or Bill Clinton raised doubts about him he made everyone feel better with “the smile.”
When I was a Democrat, I worked on a DNC event at the Beverly Hilton. President Clinton was there to raise money. He leaned over the podium speaking directly to the crowd. His genius was he made people think he was one of them and understood their pain. I looked around and saw that everyone was mesmerized. They couldn’t take their eyes off of him. They looked drugged.
Obama is more aloof and unreachable, like a movie star. Most people can’t hope to get close to a star or talk to him. Actually you don’t care what he actually says. When a movie star smiles, the crowd cheer. They just want to be near him — to see him smile!
We can be angry on the right about this phenomenon. But it will take someone from the state-run media to break the spell.
A brave journalist will have to stop acting like a star-struck teenager and ask the hard questions and the hard follow-up questions. Only then, like the fable, will everyone realize that the Emperor has no clothes!
And “the smile” will not be able to cover that.