I am glad that I didn't write this yesterday.

Because I would have wasted a few hundred words recycling the same old profanities about the media and the same old irate rants that have populated this space for the past few months about media irrelevance.

All I can say, Mr.President, is this - the only productive way to get anything out of your relationship with the political pundits in the media is to look at it as training camp for living with a teenager.

Teenagers and political pundits are capable of listening to a two minute harangue that describes in detail why something will probably NOT happen and only hearing the word "might", a a fleeting, "this word did not go with all the others" utterance in which they are then capable of investing every ounce of their emotional energy...

...which makes the letdown all the more dramatic when you do what you told them you were going to do in the first place.

Teenagers and political pundits have a bad habit of equating "I want" with "we need", which often leads to a lot of pouting when you have to remind them what the difference is between needs and wants. It doesn't really matter how many times you explain this, though - they have the innate ability to turn a want into a need instantly. The world as they know it, they will opine, and whine, will come to a screeching halt if they do not get what they want. The more artful teenagers and political pundits can make it sound pretty damn ominous. Your deconstruction of their version of a need into the want that it actually is will usually increase their outcry.

The other thing that teenagers and political pundits lack is a sense of proportion. When you try to impress upon them how much something they need is going to cost, their level of nonchalance can be frightening, as if money actually does grow on trees.

Which is why, Mr. President, your stupendous achievement yesterday of getting BP to agree to put in escrow THE STAGGERING SUM OF $20 BILLION is one that should just about blow the mind of anybody who's ever negotiated anything with a major corporation, a corporation that is still wrangling over their potential liabilities in this oil spill. But like teenagers, political pundits can get so fixated on how you say something that they fail to pay attention to what it is you are doing. The old "actions speak louder than words" truism cannot penetrate the brains of teenagers until they reach their twenties - for political pundits, whose minds are usually pickled in the ether of their own greatness, there is often no hope of it ever taking hold. 

The real loser in all this, Mr. President, if you were to look at it this way, would be Malia. Because many of these columnists and pundits, due to their own industry-wide affirmative action plan that rewards juvenile logic and pulp fiction prose, have been teenagers forever. If you use this opportunity to hone your parenting skills when these media tantrums occur, the way you used to do in those continuing legal education seminars you had to go to in order to keep your law license up to date, your daughter won't have a chance, because between the columnists at the New York Times, The Washington Post, and all of TV pundit land, you will have seen every teenager trick in the book.


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