It is no big secret that President Obama was in New York yesterday (traffic here was horrific) and stopped by a Gap to do some shopping for the wife and kids. Not every news source was equally supportive of the president’s retail detour. Consider this piece from the New York Times:
[The president], who has lived the cloistered life of a top Washington bureaucrat…, is having trouble presenting himself to the electorate as a man in touch with middle-class life.
Today, for instance, he emerged from … Washington’s choicest executive mansions to confront the modern retail store.
Visiting a Gap store, Mr. Obama lingered at … a checkout lane. He signed his name on an electronic pad used to detect check forgeries.
“If some guy came in and spelled Barack Obama differently, could you catch it?” the President asked. “Yes,” he was told, and he shook his head in wonder.
Surprised? You’ll be less so when you learn that the article, by Andrew Rosenthal, was written in 1992, and the president it was written about was George H. W. Bush. His name was swapped out with that of the current occupant of the White House. He, too, was in New York at the time, but his treatment by the paper of record was unremittingly hostile.
Is the difference that Obama really is a man of the people, and that his trips to the Gap and other shopping venues are so commonplace that Rosenthal et. al. are justified in giving him a pass for the same behavior? Or could the difference be that Obama represents the party the Times approves of, while Bush didn’t, and that Rosenthal et. al. are full of it?