Blow-By: Who is Barack?

In today’s New York Times, Charles M. Blow wrote a concise, brief, and yet so true Op-Ed on our President:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/opinion/13blow.html

President Obama’s patience and naiveté with the opposition has infuriated his own loyalists, especially the liberals.  We saw this during the presidential campaign when Hillary Clinton would dig at Obama over and over again.  Obama’s response typically was to apply reason and rationality to the issue at hand.  That is, when he chose not to ignore the barb, which was usually the case.  But his campaign staff had the votes counted in advance, both in the primaries for the convention and then the votes of the Electoral College in the November presidential election.   Candidate Obama could afford his detached manner.  Moreover, I do believe he hoped that his calmness in the face of  “disaster” would set an example.  If for no other reason than sheer competition, he believed that the opposition would take on his rational behavior and show the American people that they, too, can be as effective as Obama.

But no.  The Republicans stooped to new lows of personal behavior and professional responsibility.  In the absence of any constructive ideas or actions, the GOP has been single-minded in their rejection of anything that President Obama favors.  Can you imagine the GOP now saying “Don’t cut Medicare” when, for the last 45 years, they have been that program’s staunchest foe?  You know something’s up when too many Republican lawmakers, who voted against the stimulus, showed up at their constituents offices to take the credit for those massive relief checks they were holding in their hot little hands.  But enough: we know who and what the GOP is.

What we still do not know is who Barack Obama is. We can clearly see that he is highly intelligent, blessed with a calm yet determined temperament and surely cares about the American people.  In Mr. Blow’s article, President Obama is quoted repeatedly that his hope for rational thought, civility and a real desire “to do the right thing” by the American people will win out at the end.  I do not believe that.  In light of the President’s having his hands tied by the GOP’s singular mission to bring failure to this administration, it is time for Mr. Obama to fight dirty with dirty.

Sometimes the most admirable of men must enter the fray and get their hands soiled somewhat in order to get the job done.  Otherwise, just like Jimmy Carter, certainly one of the most noblest human beings alive today, the goodness will go for naught.  Carter couldn’t run the White House or our government for all the tea in China.  President Obama needs to use any and all of the political/legal maneuvers available to pass his agenda.  Certainly with over 70% of Americans favoring a public option, he should ram that through.  Also, with 75% of our citizens in favor of repealing DADT, that should be a slam-dunk.  Easier said than done.

The other night I watched a PBS re-broadcast of the celebration in honor of Black History Month at the White House.  It was a tribute to the civil rights movement, held in the smallish East Room, and was packed with personally selected invitees: government officials, Congressman, Senators and God knows who else.  The performers, such as Joan Baez, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Smokey Robinson and many others, were inspiring to watch.  Each and every one of them gave their all.  However, the audience was as dead as a door nail.  Can you imagine listening to spirituals from the long-ago past, uplifting civil rights march songs and rock and rolling modern songs about freedom and not moving a muscle?  Zowie!  That audience had a stick up their ass.  The goal of “keeping up appearances” overtook any urge to acknowledge and participate in a moving experience.  As beautiful and meaningful as the music was, the guests’ apathy really put a damper on the evening.  See for yourself; here is the entire hour program on PBS:

http://www.pbs.org/inperformanceatthewhitehouse/

So should President Obama, for the sole sake of civility and rational behavior, go along with the crowd?  Should he abandon his agenda to offer relief to Americans for the sake of political correctness?  Should he be satisfied with a legacy of coolness under pressure or a lasting body of legislation that really leaves its mark?

Get.  Down.  Mr. President.

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