With his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night, President Obama may have just earned another spot in the history books… for the most over analyzed presidential interview in the history of the United States.
Some are questioning Stewart’s ability as a presidential interviewer, since he’s the first satirical comedian to get a chance to interview a sitting president. They’re also wondering why Stewart held back, considering how hard he usually goes in on the President.
Others are talking about the President’s vibe on air: was he tense? Did he come off as being on the defensive? Did this appearance affect the public’s opinion positively or negatively?
One statement in particular raised some eyebrows.
Obama said that administration official Larry Summers did a “heckuva job” on financial reform–and the President suggested his words were deliberately chosen to echo the language George W. Bush used to praise FEMA official Michael Brown during Hurricane Katrina. Stewart jokingly told the president, “You don’t want to use that phrase, dude.”
Was it disrespectful for Stewart to address the president using a term that’s more commonly exchanged between two college guys sharing a bong?
Since the days of George Washington, America’s top leader has been addressed as “Mr. President.” Even Martha Washington called her husband “Mr. President.” Congress at one point considered the loftier title of “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.” It’s unlikely the Founding Fathers would have ever considered the title “dude.”
Which raises the question: does our 44th President’s accessibility and down-to-Earth demeanor make him seem too much like “one of us” for us to offer him the proper amount of respect?
Or is it about time that we stop thinking of the President of the United States of America, the Commander in Chief, as someone that is somehow just a little better than the rest of us and thus worthy of a little more respect than most?