Could Obama Become The Lindsay Lohan Of Presidents?

By Kerry Golds

Recently Politico discussed how Americans are "getting a big dose of President Obama." In exploring Obama's constant interfaces with the press and the public--whether through prime-time news conferences, YouTube videos, or town-halls--the article notes that Obama thus far has given more of his time to the public than any recent president by this point in the term.

And for a nation with a 140-character attention span, this might be a bad thing. Though Obama's accessibility in our instant-news, social media age is perhaps a necessity, it comes with a price: potential for Obama-fatigue.

No one can forget the example of Lindsay Lohan. Once the It-girl who starred in Mean Girls, she is now an embarrassment: her recent project, Labor Pains, was demoted from a feature film to a TV movie for ABC Family. Many have blamed her fall on overexposure: the obsessed public and media couldn't get enough of her, and she complied. She was everywhere--TV, radio, magazine covers. (Sound familiar?)

That is, until everyone had their fill. Which puts Obama, as much celebrity as president, in a tough spot.

It's refreshing to have a president that values communication. And arguably, this volatile moment necessitates such face-time to build and maintain trust in Obama and the government. But Obama's ability to be effective and keep the faith of the American people inextricably relies on his ability to keep the attention of the American people.

It is unfair to punish Obama for his willingness to make himself available to the public. But the fickle relationship between the press, the public and the famous is as much a reality as the current economic crisis. Which is why among the many issues Obama faces, yet another must be how to maintain the promised government transparency without incurring a debilitating national boredom.

His second term depends on it.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/07/could-obama-become-the-lindsay-lohan-of-presidents/22115/