Thursday, September 6, 2007

Michael Crowley Should Know Better

Crowley agrees with, gulp, Rush Limbaugh when the radio host says:

The one thing about it that bothers me -- and I'm not rooted in fuddy-duddiness here, although it may sound like it to some of you but--is I think the office of the presidency has a certain stature, and I don't like to see it linked or tied to pop culture. Pop culture is by definition one of the low common denominators of our society. If a president won't go on The Tonight Show as president, he shouldn't go on as a candidate.... You know damn well that presidents don't go on The Tonight Show. So why should they as candidates? When you link the stature of that office to the pop culture, I don't think the damage is instantaneous, but it's just a slow erosion of the stature of the office. It's just my instinct here.

I'm not going to claim that sitting through an interview with Jay Leno is as daunting a task as, say, sitting through a grilling from a potentially ornery and over-caffeinated Tim Russert, but Limbaugh is trying to mount a high horse here whose stirrups he can barely reach.

Limbaugh's own show is as much pop culture as it is news or commentary or anything else for that matter. He's been lauded by conservatives and liberals because he is a grade-A radio personality, not for his insightful take on the state of current affairs. He's an entertainer, plain and simple. Rush Limbaugh is pop culture. His silly gags slamming liberals are to be taken no more seriously than the Dancing bin Ladens.

And if Leno or Letterman or Stewart or Colbert are not allowed to host Presidents or presidential aspirants, then what the hell is Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States of America, doing calling in to Rush's own show like he was an uneducated forklift driver with nothing better to do that afternoon?

This is classic Limbaugh: complain about what the rest of the media is up to and hope that no one notices that he's just as guilty of the same absurdities. Of course the Presidency should be dignified and esteemed and all that great crap, but let's face it: TV lowers the bar. And the internet lowers it further. We're no longer talking about the President's golf game getting a gentle ribbing from Bob Hope anymore. Now we have the ability to catch our most powerful at their worst with our cell phones -- trading a few well-rehearsed jokes on late night television is hardly any less demeaning to the stature of the office than that.

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