Delegate! Well, once you hire better stand-ins (Guest Post)

By Ebonie Ledbetter

President Obama gave his second prime-time press conference Tuesday night. This follows an interview with 60 Minutes and an appearance on Jay Leno a couple of weeks ago. Bush avoided interviews and major press conferences like the plague, so it’s good that Obama is speaking to the American public regularly. But I’m kinda sick of seeing him. He’s on TV so much that he may as well be part of the scheduled programming. Just add him to the TV Guide listings.

Obama is good at being the front man. He has a high approval rating and does well on camera. Who better to promote the administration’s agenda than him? I like that Obama is more open to the media than the last administration, and this has helped him so far. But I worry about his stand-ins. Few of the people currently representing his administration on the regular are as well-received as he is.

What would happen if he couldn’t make an interview or an emergency took him out of the country, but he still needed someone to get on CNN to relay some new update? Who would replace him and be as comfortable and confident in front of the cameras?

V.P. Joe Biden? Um no. The administration knows his gaffes can stir up trouble, so they don’t let him in front of the cameras too much.

Tim Geithner? People are already calling for his head, and he’s only been Treasury Secretary for a few months. Apart from all the controversy surrounding him, I just want him to look confident. Even if he really doesn’t know what’s going on, he should at least act like he knows something. He looks so unsure on camera, like “Yeah, this is what it is! I guess. Check back in a few weeks.” Obama says he supports him all the way,but if he’s going to keep him, he shouldplace him further away from the cameras and put him with Biden. This guy should not be one of the main faces of the administration.

Robert Gibbs? He doesn’t scream confidence either. And he’s press secretary! There are plenty of exemplary public relations professionals — who I’m sure in this current economy — are looking for work. You can do better than Gibbs.

President Obama, you love basketball. Even though I’m not a sports follower at all, I’ll put this in sports terms for you. If the best basketball player in the world was on a team where every other player was barely average at best, that team wouldn’t make it very far. And if he got injured? You get the point. It’s OK if you stay in the front. You like the cameras — I see the look on your face when you’re in front of them. But just remember the basketball team. You don’t want to be carrying the weight of an entire team for the next four years.


Ebonie Ledbetter, based out of Atlanta, is the author of the blog, WhatLooksLikeCrazy. She’s a recent journalism grad, and WLLC is a mix of opinion and reported stories about the black community, politics, music, and current events.


17 thoughts on “Delegate! Well, once you hire better stand-ins (Guest Post)

  1. I disagree with you on Gibbs, who does a better than job than spinmeisters Ari fleischer and Dana Perino. Gibbs is sort of bland and low-key, which is what you want in a White House press secretary, as opposed to someone that’s flamboyant or flashy. I think Obama is going a fine job of communicating to the public, despite the ill-advised appearance on the Leno show. Anyone who’s "kinda sick of seeing him" is probably a conservative incognito and so they’re obviously biased. It’s true, Geithner is surprisingly unconfident, given that he’s risen so high up the food chain.

  2. Are you interviewing for actors for the Obama Administration? Sorry that the egg heads that you dismissed as uncool back in the day and are running the country don’t rate higher on your celebrity meter. If your’e looking for the entertainment factor from your President’s administration, this country is in a world of trouble.

  3. I have to disagree with you on being sick of seeing him. When he’s on, I’m recording it so that I can watch it again to catch anything that I miss, then I go to work and talk about it the next day. 50 million viewers watching a Presidential press conference means that people want to know what’s going on, and he’s the POTUS, so he IS carrying the team. That’s his job.

  4. Wow….totally disagree with you on "sick of seeing" Obama (I think maybe the OTHER people who Obama has no control over that are using his image socially, like the million and one magazine covers he is on, may make you sick of him, but that does not stop president Obama from having a job to do, and explaining what he is doing politically to the American people on TV, in a time of crisis. I mean if he was not there explaining his policies, then people will blame him for being secretive, like they did of Bush)Its like danm if you do, damn if you don’t!and as to Gibbs, to say he does not scream confidence means you do not watch ANY of his press conferences, he is one of the most loyal, articulate, and well versed Obama people there are, and will hit back HARD when he feels the Obama administration is being unfairly attacked (along with other loyalists like Axelrods, Jarret, etc…)Gibbs is one of the few people I really trust in the Obama admin, and has sharp teeth he will use when needed, and soft spoken when needed (i mean did you watch his smack down of Sean Hannity during the campaign, to say he does not scream confidence mean you took one look at him, made a judgement about his looks alone, and did not hear him do his job!)(I will agree with you on Geithner though, I give you that…..he may be good at his job, but he is not showing it, but it is not his job to be on the PR front, it his is job to fix the economy)

  5. i disagree on a few fronts. i think gibbs is great, very smart and efficient in that job. i also disagree that leno was a bad idea; aside from an almost inaudible crack which the msm focused on, that kind of venue is actually smart media strategy. leno typically reaches more people in one show than all the sunday talkers combined do in 2 weekends, and without the ego driven beltway filter of those hosts; he basically gets to put out a much less filtered telling of his message, with much less media spin & gotcha attempts in the questioning. the entire leno interview was highly substantive, he was very clear on economic issues, and he’s infinitely likable. demographically leno makes a lot of sense as well; when you look at the choice of leno over other late shows, as well as over the sunday shows, the audience skews older and more middle class; exactly the audience he needs to be talking to. people want to hear from their president about what’s going on, they want to feel as though he’s listening and answering their questions, it’s especially comforting in hard times and it builds a relationship and trust; bush would literally disappear for long periods of time, and there’s a strong argument to make that it wasn’t particularly helpful to his cause. i don’t think people getting sick of him is something he should worried about, people expect the president to be at the center of most for geithner, it would be nice if he was more media savvy, but if you think back to the last administration’s treasury secretaries they were no better the geithner, in fact paulsen was probably more awkward. i’m much more concerned about him knowing what he’s doing than being the most likable salesperson. the cabinet helps craft and implement the necessary policy, it’s the president’s job to sell it to the people.

  6. Wow! I wasn’t trying to bash Obama at all, or say that he needs to sit down and go away. I just said that he’s doing a good job, but I wish he had more people as good as him on camera to represent the administration. I wasn’t asking for them to be flamboyant or flashy either, because Obama’s not like that. On Gibbs though, even after watching press conferences and during the election I never thought he was one of Obama’s best surrogates. Thanks everybody for the feedback though. I don’t agree with Obama on all his decisions, but I wouldn’t ever want to come across as a conservative Obama basher.

  7. Im not sick of President Obama at all. Im so stoked for his upcoming European trip and the G-20 summit.

  8. I think I understand what you’re saying when you say you’re sick of seeing him; it’s almost like you were setting up the rest of your story where you were saying that other people should be able to step up. If I misunderstood, I do have to disagree. Anytime I see Obama, I’m ecstatic. I agree with you on Geithner. Is it just me or does he look like an evil leprecaun? Just askin’. I also think that the few times I have seen Biden that he’s done okay holding down the fort without making major gaffes. Thanks for the post, it was interesting.

  9. To Eby:I hope the responses do not seem like an attack (I definitely do not think you came off as an Obama basher, and your post was very insightful), and I myself do not agree with him on all points (ex: I think asking GM CEO to step down, and not any of wall street CEOs to step down is complete BS), but I still love Obama (and no one can ever get me to stop loving Obama)But I think the point is that as the president, he is the leader, and it is his job be the face of the WH….I mean most people may not know who Geithner is when he comes on TV, or who Gibbs or Axelrod, or Larry Summers is, but all Americans have come to know and trust Obama after 2 years of campaigning, and after voting for him, so therefore, he is the one that should be delivering his messages, he is the one the people knows, and like. (I think the sick of seeing Obama thing amy have robbed people off the wrong way, but I see where you are coming from in that you literally see Obama’s face EVERYWHERE!!) but that is not his fault, he cannot help that we live in a capitalist society that will try and profit off his likenessand I still disagree on Gibbs (he has been known to knock down many stupid, borderline insane questions from the press, and again, I point back to his smack down of Sean Hannity, and as much as I hate to admit it, Sean Hannity is not softie)but overall, insightful post, and I sincerely hope (at least on my part) you did not feel attacked by the response to your post!ps: @ NAGROM, OMG, I too am impatiently awaiting his trip to Europe, I get the sense that they appreciate Obama there A LOT more than some people do here….either way, its going to be GREAT, to see BOTH Obamas in Europe!!

  10. I disagree on Gibbs. I think he is pretty good. I do like seeing President Obama out in front speaking on the issues because I do so trust him. However, I feel that Gibbs pretty good with what he does. If, however, the situation you described happens I think that Gibbs could do the job he has been hired to do. I would like to hear more from Valerie Jarrett as well. I do think that the President and his staff will or have already planned for such an occasion, should it happen. They are a well prepared team, therefore, I think that have covered all of the "what ifs". I never get enough of seeing the President. It’s been so long since we have had a President that has a presence and knows what he is talking about.

  11. "The Revolution will not be Televised, but Obama will".I am not necessarily sick of seeing or hearing Obama, but I do see the propaganda behind what is happening. Just because he is on tv everyday, and people receive emails from him all the time does not mean that this administration is transparent.Actually, this administration is very gangsta. The administration got the GM president to resign, is telling wall street what to do, sending more troops to Afghan, refusing to attend a conference because race is included on the agenda, and on and on. His campaigning right now is not to inform the public, rather it is to sale an agenda. It is amazing, because no other president has had the team behind him with the savvy to use tv, radio, and the internet.This administration has access to millions of people via email that everyone signed up for during the campaign. This administration has set the agenda for the democratic party and also set up "organizing for America" over power the DNC or any political action committee. This is not change, it is just a new face on an old system of control and politics. Just because there is a smiling face and great oration selling the product, does not mean the product is good for the massess.Here is the pickle that we find ourselves in: If you are white and criticize the president, then you are a racist. If you are black and criticize the president, you are a sell out and not down for the cause. What a great situation to have as a sitting president. It’s almost like he can’t be criticized, which makes him a sacrosant. I love that he is the first black president because it changes how many black boys and black men see themselves, and it also gives the world a different view of a black man. However, he is still a politician, who uses politics to get things done. Honestly, if you really think about it, What makes Obama different from Bush?Not what he has told you, but do some research, check out his actions.What is the difference?

  12. Gill, I have a question? What does that say about the state of race relations in America? It is certainly not the President’s fault that whites are labeled racists and blacks sell-outs if they criticize him. You make it sound as if this wasn’t the pre-existing state of race relations in America. If what you are saying is true, the that sure doesn’t stop the loonies at and Faux News from bashing President Obama on a daily like clockwork.

  13. NAGROM said."Gill, I have a question? What does that say about the state of race relations in America? It is certainly not the President’s fault that whites are labeled racists and blacks sell-outs if they criticize him. You make it sound as if this wasn’t the pre-existing state of race relations in America. If what you are saying is true, the that sure doesn’t stop the loonies at and Faux News from bashing President Obama on a daily like clockwork."My reply:Well for one, I believe that Obama won because he was black. Please follow me, if you can. Many blacks voted for him because his story resonated with their story in a sense: he came from a single parent household, he overcame the socialization of "poverty" and excelled at Columbia and Harvard, he worked as a community organizer (by the way this was his second job after Columbia, research what he did the 2 years before becoming a community organizer), he sounded like an educated negro preacher who listens to Jay-z, he has a fine wife, and 2 beautiful kids. He represented for blacks, what bush represented for some of whites. He was someone who looked like us, shared our struggle, and hopefully would see things our way, protect our interests, and CHANGE government to benefit our plight. He was like what Jackie Robinson was to the major leagues.Whites voted for Obama because he was black. But not a black that they knew, a new negro. Educated, that spoke well, that knew politics, that could hang out in their living rooms, that was not jesse or al sharpton, that they knew wouldn’t move outside of certain boundaries, that could rebuke his liberation speaking pastor, he was a good tamed brightskinnded negro whom they could trust. They voted for him as a way to release the guilt associated with slavery, jim crow, and privilege. And many young white people voted for him because they thought he was just cool, like their black friends.So to me, race was the clincher for the campaign.Honestly, I don’t believe that Obama’s election does anything for race relations because he does not push the status quo. He is safe for white people and for big business. His election does something for black people, in particular black men and black boys, but not much for race relations. Because whites now see him as the standard of what a negro should be, and say if he did it then every other black person has no reason to complain or push for equality. His election begins the end of black history month, affirmative action, African American studies programs, etc because the question now becomes, "why are these needed when Obama is the leader of the free world?"The only way that his election changes anything in race relations is if we are all honest about why we voted for him, and have real conversations about race.Some of the critique from Fox news and other conservative media are valid, and some of it is based in ignorance and racism. However, the valid critiques are not being accepted because conservatives are no longer in power and because the conservative face has a white pigment. Really, all I am try to say is we must "be watchful in all things" and be as critical of Obama as we were with bush.

  14. "His election begins the end of black history month, affirmative action, African American studies programs, etc because the question now becomes, "why are these needed when Obama is the leader of the free world?""To which I say- ‘Hallelujah’. I look forward to the day when black folks are no longer hyphenated Americans, when there’s no need for affirmative action based on skin color because society has become politically, educationally and economically integrated, and African American Studies programs disappear because that history will casually be a part of the standard curriculum. I have no desire to stand apart from mainstream society, or to be told that I must stand apart because a large part of my ancestry is African. I also look forward to the day when politicians are judged on what they say and do, not on their religious affiliations, sexual and gender proclivities, or ethnicity.However, I don’t think these things are going to disappear any time soon- more’s the pity.When I was growing up, there were no Black Studies programs- and somehow my parents were still able to teach me about my heritage. There were black history college courses, and my mother did take one- but my parents felt it was their responsibility to teach me about my heritage, not the school system’s. My mother also didn’t expect universities to run ‘Catholic-American Studies’ courses, even though people in my family had experienced discrimination based on our religion (mostly from other black people, BTW). While I’m aware that pretty much every class is essentially ‘white people’s studies’, I don’t believe it has to be that way- and I don’t think it will always be that way.I’m very much a liberal, but I really have to ask- aren’t we as a people eventually going to have to give up on affirmative action, et al., if we are truly fighting for equality? Because once we achieve equality, such programs won’t be needed. Equality, does not mean that all ghettoes will disappear and all poverty will cease. Ignorance and violent hip-hop will not go the way of equality in an equal world- as powerful as the white majority might be, there are still plenty of trailer parks in Appalachia , plenty of white people with poor dental hygiene in upstate New york, and plenty of meth-heads in Georgia. ‘Racial equality’ does not mean the end of poverty and its issues. It doesn’t even mean that everyone will get a chance to grow up to be president. True racial and ethnic equality means that all people in the US regardless of ethnicity, will have the right to be just as stupid, ignorant, lazy, and self-aggrandizing as everyone else – or not – without it being seen as tied to their skin color except by the most benighted and bigoted.You can’t be a little bit equal; you are either equal or you aren’t. And if you are equal, you don’t need a special month or special programs to help you. That’s what equality means. By the same token, perhaps the problems of the poor will finally be concretely addressed once race is out of the way. Poverty manifests itself in the same ways for people of all colors and is a very different problem than is racism. Denzel Washington might have days in which a cab won’t pick him up, but his experiences with racism at this point in his life do not make his problems more relevant than those of a person of any shade living in rural Kentucky with no running water and no available health programs. A person who lives in a section of the world where there is free schooling, the ability to contact their child’s teacher and arrange for an interview at their own convenience, hot water and the money to buy soap, and enough money to buy food and clothing from a store, is well off by most world standards- which means that whether one likes the school system or not, most black people in the US are very well off indeed and have the ability to better their lot by some small degree. We are no longer living in 1860 or even 1930. Obama’s election is not here or there; what matters is not what is said on Fox News, but what we as individuals intend to do to create a world in which racism in the US will be a fly-speck of a problem.

  15. Obama won the election because he spoke to the pain people were/are feeling and offered them a positive alternative – not just a description of the pain.We are fortunate to have such an adaptable savvy brain running things. I see him making decisions, assessing the varied results and making strategic adjustments to the next decisions. i.e. the wall street bailout lessons applied to the auto bailout. That’s Real Time Brilliance.So please explain why we are faulting him for being a politician? Isn’t that what we hired him for? We will eventually adjust our definition of what it means to be a politician after seeing this man and his team in action over the next few years.Will his strategies work? Who knows. As grandma says, it beats a blank.Remember when Homeland Security people were feverishly working the ‘what type/color shirt to wear for the next press conference’ issue while New Orleans was drowning?! I kinda like my policy wonks more wonkish than polished.

  16. So some of you want to dismiss the "CAUSE", and some of you say, you are SICK and TIRED of seeing this BLACK MAN’S FACE! well GOD forbid, if John MCCAIN had been elected PRESIDENT! their would be SOUP LINE’S all over AMERICA by now! so when a BLACK MAN come’s forth and attempt’s to undo the damage, you so called " SICK and TIRED" people want to to TEAR him down! I can tell from the way most of you write, you don’t have respect for the PRESIDENT! and that’s a shame, you address him as if he is a common street person, this man is a COLLEGE PROFESSOR as well as a LAWYER! and above all, he is the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATE’S of AMERICA!Affirmative ACTION was brought about because that was a way to make sure our people received EQUAL RIGHT’S under the LAW, our people did whatever it took during that time, remember BLACK’S were held back because of the color of their skin, they had just as much intelligence as the WHITE MAN, but, they were looked upon as sub human! and we still are, look at the way the PRESIDENT and his wife are being treated by WHITE RACIST AMERICAN’S! and no, you are not a SELL OUT, because you are BLACK and you don’t support the PRESIDENT, well I would rather put my trust in something new, than something old and out of date!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: