Discussing President Obama’s embarrassing basketball performance on Monday (he went 2-for-22), ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “This will go down as the most embarrassing moment of his entire presidency.”
That struck me as a bit much, but I didn’t think too much of it. After all, it was coming from a sports guy. Kornheiser talks politics on his ESPN radio show, but he’s not primarily known for political analysis.
But according to Rush Limbaugh, Kornheiser might just be on to something.
On his popular radio show Thursday, Limbaugh played the clip of Kornheiser talking with his “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon about Obama throwing bricks, and reiterated that it will take some sort of pop culture incident like this to cause people to lose respect for Obama.
This isn’t an entirely new theory for Limbaugh. On March 2o, he said,
We’ve done everything we can, and yet no impact. So we’ve all been waiting for an event. And when I’ve said this, people have assumed I meant a hurricane or a tornado, some sort of natural disaster, a God event. No, no, no. I don’t mean that. I’m talking about “event” in politics. Let me tell you what I think it’s gonna be. It’ll be something that will wake people up about Obama.
It isn’t gonna be anything serious. It isn’t gonna be anything substantive. Something like this is gonna happen: Obama is gonna be talking to somebody on open mike, and he’s gonna diss Justin Timberlake’s latest CD, and the country is gonna get outraged, and they’ll turn on Obama. See, it’s gonna be something like that, or he’ll diss Beyonce.
Limbaugh’s belief that “low information voters” are more likely to be swayed by a pop culture flub than by a substantive failing like, say, Benghazi isn’t absurd. History is replete with stories of politicians makings such errors (remember John Kerry and “Lambert Field”?)
So could this be a harbinger of things to come? If Fonzie could “lose his cool,” I suppose anything is possible. On the other hand, the notion that Obama is going to commit some sort of pop culture gaffe that would alienate the public seems unlikely.
He has a supportive press and Hollywood entertainment base (which can’t be underestimated) — and seems to have built up enough reserves of “coolness” to compensate for the occasional flub.
More than anything else, Obama seems Teflon. From arugula to bowling to “57 states,” you can throw stuff at him, but it doesn’t seem to stick.