Obama still want to be president?
acting more like a Boy Scout troop leader
by William Grieder, The Nation
Given the election results, the
question Obama has to decide for himself is whether he really wants
to be president in the fullest sense. Not a moderator for earnest
policy discussions. Not the national
cheerleader for hope. Not the worthy visionary describing a distant
future. Those qualities are elements
in any successful presidency, and Obama applies them with admirable
skill and seriousness.
What's missing with this president is power—a strong grasp of the
powers he possesses and the willingness
to govern the country with them. During the past two years, this
missing quality has been consistently
obvious in his rhetoric and substantive policy positions. There is a
cloying Boy Scout quality in his style
of leadership—the troop leader urging boys to work together on their
merit badges—and none of the
pigheaded stubbornness of his "I am the decider" predecessor, nor the
hard steel of Lyndon Johnson
or the guile of Richard Nixon.
Obama has patience and the self-confidence not to insist that his
solution is the best and only one.
On many vital questions, he went so far as to not even say what his
solution was. Such a governing style
is too nice for real-life politics, where Boy Scouts get their heads
handed to them.
Some politicians may enjoy Obama's generous spirit, but many despise
him for it. Washington always
takes the measure of a new president and tests him early on. Congress
and the surrounding power centers,
swiftly reading weakness in this president, decided they would fill the
vacuum Obama left for them.
A friend said, "First he was rolled
by the bankers, then he was rolled by the generals, then he was rolled
by the Blue Dogs and other
Democrats who had no interest in going along with what he proposed."
Even Obama supporters began to ask, Where is the fight in the man?
That's a great question - anybody have an answer?
Will this president ever wake up?
Why does he refuse to come to work?
Why is he lurching from one "rolling" to the next?
We need to see some fight or we need a new nominee in 2012.
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