Pat Buchanan thinks that it is not a good idea for the president of the United States to appear as a "straight man" for Jay Leno on late night television. I heartily agree. Buchanan is offended by the loss of "distance" and majesty in the person of the official whom he sees as a virtual sovereign equivalent to the British queen. Buchanan is an ardent nationalist and a thinly disguised monarchist. This a common view today, a variant on the "president as CEO of America" theme so evident in the mouths of the egregious.
I continue to resist these notions. The president is the head of the Executive Branch of the federal government. He/she is bound by the law… He/she is separately the Commander and Chief of the armed forces and bound by law there as well. The president is not our CEO. He does not "run" America as a CEO runs a company. To think or talk otherwise is to encourage a drift towards the centralization of authority that inevitably wil lead to tyranny.
Nevertheless, I think it is NOT a good idea for the president to appear on entertainment television. What is next, a guest "shot" on "The Daily Show" or the "Colbert Report?" Comedians make jokes. Inevitably the jokes are somewhat at the guest's expense and are directed towards events or policies for which the guest can be held responsible. Leno took President Obama to task last night for the supposed inadequacies of his treasury secretary, Geithner. It is understandable that he would do this. The cable news industry has recently made Geithner a "whipping boy" in its mindless search for instant solutions for complex problems. People like Matthews, the butcher boy of MSNBC, can not differentiate between executive ability and entertainment value, and so they don't like the mild mannered Geithner. Having to answer to people like Leno, etc., on live TV increases the "burn rate" on issues like Geithner's fate and shortens the time that public opinion will allow the president to deal with real as opposed to media phenomena.
No more comedy shows Mr. President, please. pl