Are TV ratings vital in politics?
Donald Trump certainly seemed to think so. From the day he launched the political phase of his long and successful career in the public spotlight, the real estate developer and reality TV celebrity reveled in the latest numbers from the ratings providers. With Trump’s name and signature hairdo and distinctive voice serving as the enticement, cable news operators and newspaper publishers didn’t need to work overtime to generate an audience. All they had to do was scrounge up copy or video of Trump being Trump and it was enough to get people gawking and reading.
The strategy was a play to human nature. It’s often been said that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” and “the crying baby gets the milk” and “people are easily distracted by shiny objects”, all of which ring true. But even so, famous individuals have run for office before and failed to generate more than a temporary sensation that fades and dies almost as fast as it rises to the forefront. That’s part of what made Trump unique and is the primary reason why pros in the news business wait impatiently for the next utterance from Trump’s location of the moment.
Trump wanted Americans to watch him. And it wasn’t necessarily because he selfishly craved adoration and agreement; no, he enjoyed the back-and-forth from his adversaries as well. To Trump, high TV ratings revealed that he was putting on a good show, one folks couldn’t wait to see but also meant he was so enthralling that even those who hated him still watched him.
No wonder his enemies complained his presidency was all about his persona.
Following on Trump’s example -- and the establishment media’s trancelike devotion to covering the Republican standard bearer -- it appears Joe Biden believes the opposite. From day one, the 78-year-old, half century experienced swamp dweller’s numbers have lagged behind Trump’s. But instead of being insulted, liberals in Joe’s sphere act like they’re more than content to live with the attention deficit. In a piece titled, “Biden's poor TV ratings against Trump is exactly what this administration wants,” Joe Concha wrote at The Hill:
“[I]t was no surprise to see President Biden's ratings fall far short of Trump's in the viewership department after he finally gave an address to a joint session of Congress. The differential was staggering: For Trump's 2017 address to a Joint session, 48 million people tuned in. For Biden's address, just 27 million tuned in…
“So, while relatively few Americans are paying attention, Biden and Congress are looking to pass some of the biggest spending packages in U.S. history in a short period of time...
“Biden's TV ratings are low. And it's just the way his handlers want it. He and his vice president rarely talk to reporters, rarely hold press conferences, rarely tweet anything controversial. From a visibility perspective, it is the polar opposite of the bombastic, unfiltered Trump years.”
As I mentioned last week, I didn’t watch the Joe-show. Since he ended up driveling for over an hour, I’ve subsequently seen parts of his “address” to Congress, enough to determine that Biden didn’t alter his spiel from his everyday news releases to make it noteworthy. I’m guessing my impressions parallel those of others. I’d wager that even liberals don’t get excited when Joe Biden is on TV. It’s kind of like viewing a robotic mannequin moving its mechanical mouth with prerecorded soundbites emanating from its lips. Think of Disneyland animation before the computer age, circa 1974.
American politics watchers have known for a long time that Joe is full of himself and assumes his image is better than it really is. Whereas the lip-biting Bill Clinton was a master at manipulating media to maintain the facade that he was just a good ol’ boy from Arkansas who could “feel [our] pain” and empathize with the average schlep on the assembly line, Joe Biden’s reputation is for being a substance-free windbag who no one takes seriously.
It’s because by all appearances, Joe doesn’t even take himself seriously. That’s how a back slappin’, hair sniffin’, child repellin’, nude swimmin’, sexual assault denyin’, “you ain’t black” accusin’, mask wearin’ (even when it clearly isn’t necessary), systemic race hustlin’ and common sense destroyin’ fool from the upper mid-Atlantic gets to be president.
Democrats hate the fact that when Barack Obama was term-limited out of office, he left a very shallow bench populated with old and tired retreads and young radicals who were camera-ready but wouldn’t be controlled by the party establishment. You know, the kind that flap their gums about racism and “climate change” and big government control and “woke-ism” but wouldn’t bow to the consultants so as to package their wacked-out crapola into something sounding middle-of-the-road.
Biden’s always portrayed himself as a friend to working stiffs. It’s phony and overly contrived. He’s still doing it. The media goes along with his act because they approve of his politics. It’s not complicated.
Joe Biden’s record has never been moderate. The times he’s appeared in the national limelight have usually been for ripping people that he disagreed with (see Bork, Robert and Thomas, Clarence, for prime examples) to further his political fortunes. Biden’s face has never been one where you’d see it on a screen and sense an invisible compulsion to listen to what he has to say. In this regard he’s not different than any other headliner Democrat these days. Who wants to devote time to Nancy Pelosi’s press conferences? Or “Chucky” Schumer’s?
Perhaps Concha is correct. The decided lack of star power in the liberal party is exactly the way they want it. If over 20 million fewer people (than Trump’s first go-round in 2017) watched Joe’s warmed-over “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” mush last Wednesday, that’s a big swatch of the country that doesn’t need talking into supporting his insane liberty-extinguishing ideas.
By the same token, didn’t millions of little girls clamor to see the first female vice president? That’s supposed to be a big deal according to the diversity-over-unity obsessed Democrats. In 2021, are there girls in this country who believe they can’t accomplish something because of their gender? Did Hillary Clinton lose in 2016 because she has ovaries, or was it because she insulted a quarter of the population (the deplorables) and came across as a truth-bending, email deleting, corruption peddling, influence selling political hack who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it’d showed up on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane during one of Bill’s Lolita vacation ventures?
The more cringeworthy the political aesthetics, the more Democrats seem to like it. Why else would they continue to hold outdoor public rallies where the speakers show up in masks and the audience sits in their cars? This means the attendees can stare at their phones without anyone noticing that they aren’t paying attention to the substance (or lack thereof) of the address.
“Honk the horn when everybody else does, pal.”
Millions of people didn’t watch Joe last week, not because he didn’t have anything to say, and not solely because he’s boring or uninteresting. Americans were turned off from politics not because Biden hasn’t kept his promises; it’s because senile Joe has kept them. The Democrat agenda is being realized and folks know the creep show will continue until they’re stopped.
Joe Concha is correct -- Democrats don’t really want people to watch Joe Biden. It makes it all the easier to maintain the ruse that America’s greatness is being safeguarded at the highest levels. They’ve chosen the perfect figurehead politician to get it done, too. If Democrats push through their schemes with such thin majorities, the farce succeeded.
Biden outdoor Georgia rally
Biden address to Congress