Can Obama's Laptop Chats Fill FDR's Shoes?Soon, we will all be able to sit in the cold glow of our computer screens and fire up the YouTube for a laptop chat by President-elect Obama, reports the Washington Post. It's part of his technology initiative! What Obama must do now is calm a panicked nation in a similar way that FDR's plainspoken chats did. Obama's will obviously be different than the large-scale, almost churchlike (yes-we-can!) speeches we've been used to seeing during the campaign. He's also done his best to manage the high-flying, paternal-Jesus expectations resulting from weepy election night emotions. FDR's fireside chats were, of course, propaganda, but people wanted reassurance, and he gave it to them in a manner that was bolstering and authoritative. See, if Obama doesn't give us something, we'll be left to the hysterical newsmedia and screaming pundits. Which is actually much worse than feel-good yes-we-can propaganda.

A snippet of Obama's first post-election press conference—mostly business.
FDR's fireside chat on home and farm foreclosure, 1933: FDR's fireside chat on the banking panicmeltdown (sound familiar?), 1933: