President Obama on Tuesday twice used MSNBC’s slogan “lean forward” while addressing Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., about relief for Sandy victims. First he said this:
“We are going to continue to push as hard as we can to make sure that power is up throughout the region and obviously this is mostly a local responsibility and the private utilities are going to have to lean forward. But we are doing everything we can to provide them additional resources so that we can expedite getting power up and running in many of these communities. There are places like Newark, New Jersey, for example, where you have 80 percent, 90 percent of the people without power."
Later in his remarks he said this:
"We can't have a situation where that lasts for days on end. And so my instructions to the federal agency has been do not figure out why we can't do something. I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape, cut through bureaucracy. There is no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure we are getting the resources where they need -- where they're need as quickly as possible. I want to repeat, my message to the federal government, no bureaucracy, no red tape, get resources where they're needed as fast as possible, as hard as possible.”
What does “private utilities are going to have to lean forward” even mean? Or “I want every agency to lean forward?”
Is that opposed to leaning backwards or not leaning at all?
In the case of MSNBC, we know what “lean forward” means. As was announced in October 2010 when it unveiled its new slogan, “Cable news network MSNBC said Tuesday it is launching a two-year, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, embracing its politically progressive identity with the new tagline ‘Lean Forward.’”
Was Obama asking private utilities and every agency to embrace their politically progressive identities?
Or was the president reciprocating love for the so-called “news network” that adores him. After all, Chris Matthews practically demanded the president start watching MSNBC moments after Romney shellacked him in the first debate earlier this month.
Maybe Obama took Matthews’ suggestion and now can’t get “lean forward” off his mind.