Obama is Presidential Mythbuster on Jon Stewart
Will perceptions of the president be permanently damaged by his divisive attempts to motivate his base, and by his willingness to travel to any venue to find supporters?
Obama's handlers were supposed to be smarter than this. They were supposed to use his celebrity strategically to advance his agenda. Instead, they've been indiscriminate, carpet-bombing Americans with the man they elected rather than launching communications smart weapons.
The result is that for millions of Americans, the very likable, charming Obama has become a constant tone in the background rather than an occasional, convincing, presidential voice in the foreground - the kind that makes your ears perk up.
The president's frantic attempts to blunt the sharp edges of this election will likely leave him far less convincing in his next two years.
Consider all the quasi-entertainment media appearances he's made, most of them frivolous.
He went on ESPN twice to announce his Final Four picks. He went on "The View" (drawing 6.5 million viewers). He had a "Christmas at the White House" special with Oprah Winfrey. He went on Jay Leno - becoming the first sitting President to appear on a late-night show. He was on the cover of Rolling Stone, giving a revealing interview looking back on his first 18 months in office. In December, he'll be going on the Discovery Channel's "MythBusters."
As he diminishes the prestige of the presidency, he dismantles the platform that a president stands on to command the attention and respect of voters who might not share his political perspective.
All that's left, apparently, is to be a guest voice on "The Simpsons," though I'm sure that's in the offing. Banksy will animate.
The appearance on The Daily Show makes Stewart's rally this weekend into an Obama event. Mistake?
This "Daily Show" appearance makes a second strategic mistake. By chumming it up with Stewart just days before the Rally to Restore Sanity, Obama and Stewart are co-opting each other. The President is killing two mockingbirds with one stone.
Without Obama's and Oprah's fingerprints on it, the rally might have looked like a semi-spontaneous uprising by moderate-as-hell Americans sick and tired of the extremists. Now, it'll appear to be a Democratic Party event, through and through - appearing to opponents every bit as "Astroturfed" as the biggest Tea Party events seem.
David Axelrod continues to buck conventional wisdom on the abuse of presidential prestige. We'll see if he gets his comeuppance next week.