One of the perspectives that escapes my blogging friends and occasional antagonists Benigno and BenK is that the framework from which they operate - real time - is not a framework that has been used historically to judge Philippine presidents. But they expect the President to be a real-time pro.
He is not. He is just a decent, unachieving fellow who bowed to the pleas of his countrymates that he run for election to avoid the sleaze that occupied several of the other contender slots, and the palace.
But the point here is perspective.
CNN issued a report the other day that recited how much US President Obama has on his plate. It was occasioned by seeing him one night in tornado stricken Alabama, the next cracking jokes at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, and the next announcing the demise of Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, he is cutting deals with Republicans to keep government funded, is attending charity events, meeting with the Japanese prime minister, making a speech about deficit reduction, holding meetings on immigration reform, and warding off idiot Donald Trump’s birthing attack.
Donald Trump’s foolish diversion about the President’s birthplace interfered with a series of the President’s National Security meetings dealing with Osama bid Laden, which shows exactly where Trump’s head is. Deep within his own cavity.
If Sara Palin and Donald Trump are the darlings of the Republican Party, one would have to worry seriously about the well being of the nation. How do such nutcakes get on the scene?
Ahhhh. . . that question brings us back to the point of this commentary.
Boston University presidential historian Robert Dalleck explained to CNN that the daily pace of a president’s agenda has accelerated due to the rise of the internet, wireless, and other facets of the communications revolution.
“There's a ‘kind of blinding rapidity’ in which one event quickly overtakes the next, said Dalleck. Our attention -- and that of the president -- is whipped from the latest economic crisis to the newest tornado wreckage to the latest protest or outbreak of violence in the Middle East.
Faced with a pressure for constant response, modern administrations face times ‘of great pressure and intense demand over a series of compelling issues,’ he said.“
CNN goes on to quote Wendy Schiller, a Brown University political scientist:
"The key challenge for presidents in the 21st century is knowing when to respond immediately and knowing when to take their time to manage a given situation," Schiller said. "It is not just that Obama has been involved in such a broad range of issues and activities. It is that he has handled them each differently and appropriately," she asserted.
. . .
Schiller argued that the "24/7 news media and now social media puts far greater pressure on presidents for an immediate response or reaction to national and world events because voters learn about (developments) much more quickly than they used to."
So therein is the point. It takes a maestro to manage White House or Palace affairs. The US White House infrastructure for handling multiple public issues was set up by Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950’s.
President Aquino has attempted something similar with his multi-faceted approach to communications, but it is neither tried nor true.
It is the speed of real time communications that allows flash-in-the-pan presidential aspirants like Palin and Trump to rise quickly to prominence, and just as quickly flame out.
It is the speed of real time communications that allows critics of President Aquino to pounce on every minor flaw and translate it into a massive character or capability flaw.
What is missing from the Anti-Pinoy perspective is a measure of consideration - a measure of respect -for the pressures the President faces by operating daily under a real-time microscope, and a capacity to do something other than make headlines, real time, by sensationalizing the President’s mistakes. There seems to be some jolly good fun in operating real time to undress the President of the country whilst he is engaged in important activities and unable to respond.
It smacks of Donald Trump’s overblown sense of self, totally unaware that he is interfering with the President’s important business.
And it re-emphasizes my own belief that the Anti-Pinoy operating style is a true, old-school Filipino style, done real time. It is high on intimidation that takes the form of relentless criticism, rich with pride and self justification and largely lacking in consideration and courtesy. And it is blind to its own character.