Tomorrow President Obama will be taping an appearance on The View that will be aired Thursday. The View is an ABC-TV morning show that features a number of women sitting around, talking. The View is predictably touting the President’s appearance as legitimizing the show; Barbara Walters, one of show’s hosts, says that the President’s appearance means that the show is recognized as “an influential and important source of information and news.”
I recognize that politicians these days will grab just about any opportunity to appear before an audience. President Obama already has broken new ground in that regard by appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m sure that The View is considered a safe, controlled environment for such an appearance, too. The President can sit, relax, and drink coffee out of a mug with The View logo on it, chat with the star-struck hosts while getting out all of his talking points, and amiably answer a few softball questions. Maybe his appearance will help his approval ratings among the show’s viewers.
Still, a sitting President appearing on The View seems jarring to me, like a line is being crossed between seriousness and celebrity. It seems inconsistent with the dignity of the office for the President to show up on daytime TV, chuckling at one of the host’s scripted lines. I’m left with the same, inescapable thought: doesn’t the President have other, more important things to do? If The View is an acceptable forum for a presidential appearance, where is the line now being drawn?