President Obama is set to make a West Coast swing this week, stopping in San Francisco and Los Angeles for fundraisers and photo-ops. As Michael Shear noted over the weekend, Obama’s decision to fundraise as the world burns isn’t great for optics.
Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director, defended the decision. “It is rarely a good idea to return to the White House just for show, when the situation can be handled responsibly from the road,” she told Shear at the time. “Abrupt changes to his schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people or creating a false sense of crisis.”
Ron Fournier isn’t buying it:
First, the phrase “just for show” is indicative of the Obama White House conceit that their guy is above politics. The fact is, all presidents do things just for show, because the office is inherently political, and one of the levers of power can be found in the public theater. … The hypocrisy is staggering. How is playing pool and drinking beer with the governor of Colorado not “just for show”? Obama and his team consistently respond to criticism by dismissing the media’s focus on “optics,” even as they craft and control the president’s image more aggressively than perhaps any previous White House.