With President Obama's interview having aired on The View, the Presidency is a little bit less majestic from this day forward, even if the popularity of this President should temporarily rise a bit.
President Obama's appearance literally damaged the office, perhaps not as much as his strange 2008 apology in Germany for America's behavior-but close. Psychologically speaking, when millions of people saw the leader of their nation on a daytime talk show, many associated him with the actors, athletes and musicians who normally fill seats on those stages. a
The half-a-dozen or so steps the President walked from the wings of the View studio out onto the set were themselves painful to watch because the President doesn't belong in a venue that hosts those who wish to drive folks to watch films, to apologize for making headlines with sexual indiscretions, to talk about their gender reassignment surgery or (as was the case with The Dr. Keith Ablow Show) to get relationship advice.
As Marshall McLuhan famously said, "The medium is the message."
And the President chose a medium that irretrievably delivers this message: "The office I hold is notone of such gravity, nor one of such honor, nor one of such history, that I feel entrusted with its care and continuity in a sacred way."
Trotting the Presidency out onto the set of The View was not much different than if the President decided to be a contestant on Jeopardy, under the guise of presenting the public with his command of facts about American history.
Presidents don't go on daytime television talk shows because it is (strike that, it was) beneath the office.
Recently, I called a friend of mine who operates a clothing company and suggested he might want to sell his wares to a store I know of in my area. aIt's a pretty enough place, and the owner is a really good person.
"I would," he said after contacting the owner, "but the brands she carries aren't in the same league as mine. Even if we moved a lot of merchandise there, it would ultimately damage our brand. I'd do it for you as a friend, but I can't."
His word choice was important. He couldn't do damage to the company he has built. It would be unthinkable. The brand deserves more, and he serves the brand. And the folks who work for him deserve his best efforts to continue building it.
Again and again, this American President does damage to the brand called The American Presidency, for personal reasons that would seem to be based in immediate narcissistic gratification-to build popularity. How else can one explain posing for photos on the covers of fashion and gossip magazines? aHow else can one explain late night comedy show appearances and, now, a daytime talk show appearance?
There's a time honored and well-respected oath physicians are supposed to hold dear. aThe oath of Hippocrates includes these words: First, do no harm. aPerhaps, sadly, it is time that the oath of office for the Presidency include Hippocrates' wise edict.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatry correspondent for Fox News Channel and a New York Times bestselling author. His book, "Living the Truth: Transform Your Life Through the Power of Insight and Honesty" has launched a new self-help movement including www.livingthetruth.com.Dr. Ablow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.