He begins with an earlier conversation he had with an unnamed Democrat:
"Who's the hero in the White House narrative?" the Democrat asked.Fournier thought about that conversation during his vacation in Michigan, "where the dearth of quality jobs gnaws at everybody" and "where financially desperate families are selling second- and third-generation cottages—a tangible loss of 20th-century middle-class vibrancy."
I shrugged; "Barack Obama." Aren't all elections about the candidate, and all White Houses about the president?
The Democrat shook his head. "That's the problem with this White House. Barack Obama is the hero of their narrative, but he's not supposed to be," he said. "The hero of every political narrative should be the voters."
What do these folks hear from the White House and the rest of Washington? Whining, mostly. Obama and his GOP rivals can't seem to tell the story of America without casting themselves as the protagonists.He argues:
Even Democrats are starting to tire of their president sounding less like a leader than a kindergartener—whiny ("They don't do anything except block me and call me names"); petulant ("So sue me"); and self-absorbed ("I ... me … my"). [snip]Applying Mr. Fournier's logic to journalism could also explain the declining respect for national media. While American middle class families struggle, many in national media continue to treat every public policy debate—from immigration to energy to economics—as a scoring game between the players of the two political parties.
Pity the president? No. In fact, White House officials, stop talking about him. And, Mr. President, put a muzzle on "I," "me," and "my."
Obama's slide in popularity will be permanent unless he realizes that the story of his presidency is not about him. It's certainly not about the GOP. It's about the people in Michigan and throughout the rest of the country who face enormous obstacles—and struggle heroically to overcome them.
Yet for many worried Americans, it is not a game.It's not about the political parties, personalities or players. It's certainly not about which leaders scored the most political points on a given day. It is about accurately and honestly reporting the substance of public policy discussions in the quest for solutions to get America and her economy back on track.
The media's slide in respect will be permanent as Mr. Obama's popularity unless it realizes the story isn't about Washington; it's about Americans who live everywhere else.