The Magazine

Presidents at Leisure

Two centuries of lightening the burden.

Oct 21, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 07 • By SONNY BUNCH
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Troy is critical of the urge in most modern presidential campaigns to pander to the lowest cultural denominator. He cites Barack Obama’s references to Jersey Shore’s Snooki, as well as Mitt Romney’s rejoinder that he was “kind of a Snooki fan.” Troy asks: “Are we really better off with a president who knows who Snooki is? This question gets at a challenge that has faced American presidents for nearly two centuries: Do they wish to be men of the people or men of higher understanding?” 

But in an age in which people are targeted in increasingly narrow strips, communication occurs in 140 characters or less, and popular web services specialize in distributing user-made videos that last exactly six seconds, the real question may be this: Do they have much of a choice, any longer, if they want to win?

Sonny Bunch is managing editor of the Washington Free Beacon.