According to the White House website, President Obama had “no public schedule” yesterday. However, this didn’t stop the President from making a high-profile St. Patrick’s Day visit to a public establishment — specifically, the Dubliner Restaurant and Pub, a bar in Washington featuring basketball on TV and Guinness on tap. Joined by his distant Irish cousin from Moneygall, Ireland (where Obama’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather called home), Obama enjoyed a pint and the well-wishes of the patrons.
Of course, this was no spontaneous drop-in — impossible when you have a Secret Service detail who must secure any visit location at least days in advance. And of course this was a calculated election year photo opportunity. What’s interesting about this particular event is that it is not the first “spontaneous” presidential beer run, press corps in tow… just ask the regulars of the Eire Pub in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, who enjoyed a presidential pint visit in 1983 by a pioneer of contemporary televisual politics.
So what do we make of last night’s primaries in Michigan and Arizona? As in most things political, the “win” is in the eye of the beholder… and what we’re beholding is media framing and campaign spinning. As I was reading news about the races this morning, a Facebook post from my old fraternity brother Jeff Moulton caught my eye. He posted,
The game of political “spin” is an interesting spectator sport. For example, right now on my Yahoo news feed is the following headline – “Battered and bruised, Romney is limping toward the nomination”. Fair enough. The very next article has this for a title – “Romney roars back with two big wins.”
Hmmm… those are two rather different narratives — and it’s likely that each of the candidates, especially Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, have one that they prefer.
Here’s one that isn’t being widely reported this morning, but I think is worth considering: Last night’s big winner was President Barack Obama. Why? Let’s check out the numbers and the spin to see why.
Sometimes the Denizens just want to pass along someone else’s analysis that makes a lot of sense. With the groggy post-turkey semi-coma at work, this is one of those times. In yesterday’s online New York Times “Campaign Stops” opinion section, former Treasury Secretary Robert Reich comments on the possibilities for the American political landscape, given the likelihood of continuing economic distress. This is a great, nonpartisan analysis — check it out.
A teaser: the anti-establishment core shared by both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, coupled with the low probability of bipartisan moderation in federal policymaking, will make things really interesting.
Note: The views of the Political Denizens, their guest contributors and visitors do not reflect those of Augustana College. The Denizens are thankful to the College for providing them with resources and an outlet for their observations and commentary in the spirit of academic freedom and free public speech.