Black and White Program

A little anger please

December 3rd, 2010 by John Eastman

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Much has been written about President Barrack Obama’s cool, calm, and collected demeanor. Low key in his outward (and perhaps inward) emotion, our president has been known since the presidential election as a cool customer in his approach to crises, large and small alike. “No-drama Obama” has been the course during his two years in office. This has been true as he faced the likes of an unemployment problem that won’t budge, an anemic GDP growth rate, significant heightened emphasis (and fear about) the federal deficit, and by the president’s own terms, a “shellacking,” by mid-term Republican congressional wins.

Through it all we have witnessed again the unflappable Barrack Obama. Not even Republican public comments promising to dismantle his prize legislation on national health care has provided a glimpse of his frustration.  Perhaps he is smoking more in private, behind closed doors, as opposed to releasing tension in the public light. Perhaps the intensity of the basketball games has heightened.

Some Americans, myself included, like this about our president. Others understandably do not. We typically don’t like a loose cannon – especially regarding foreign affairs.  We don’t like a leader ranting and raving, or threatening another country or leader publicly. We like to see cool, calm, diplomatic and very intelligent efforts towards problem solving that does not blow up in our face like IEDs in Iraq. We want to see a strength and toughness, but a controlled and intelligent and classy one at that.

But, domestically, we want a tough president too.  Right now, that message of toughness is not getting out.  Obama’s recent losses on domestic fronts, combined with his unemotional cool demeanor, is leaving the American public (Democrats included) in a state not unlike that of treading water. Perhaps it is America’s obsession with everything too big, loud, and abundant, that is showing its face, but the public wants more from our president:  more emotion, perhaps a bit of public anger, a glimpse of “let’s take this outside.”

Considering the very public statements of Republican leaders towards dismantling the health care bill, President Obama should be enraged. He campaigned hard on this issue, fought like mad to get it into law, and then its implementation has been quite silent. Now the entire accomplishment may be on its death bed.  Where is a bit of anger or a tough stance on this?  Yes, we may want to hear “….over my dead body” will you repeal the health care legislation.

Now consider the deficit. For the past 18 months, the deficit was not on the short list of public discussion. Bank bailouts, the anemic economy, and unemployment were front and center.  Enter the Republican strategy for staging a big political comeback:  let’s table the deficit and blame the Obama administration for it.  The Republicans have successfully changed the game on this to such an extent that the president now has to consider slashing programs and costs to appease all.  They are now considering tax cuts as well. This does not solve unemployment, or raise the GDP growth rate, or strengthen the country. We need to hear a forceful statement or two that Obama’s long-term plan is on track and that he inherited the disaster of an economy from the past administration.   A forceful “I inherited this mess from you know who, I’m working it out and making progress, and by the way – I don’t appreciate Republicans efforts to characterize me or my administration in a derogatory and blaming way. This is the result of eight years of idiotic mismanagement. I’ve been here two years and am dealing with two wars, a financial crisis, and a very sick economy in recession.”

Yes, I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.  Pound the table if you have to Barack, raise your voice indeed.  Cool is cool, calm is attractive, but a flow of energy up from the gut every now and then may get your groove – and the country’s – back.  You have the biggest bully pulpit in the world at your disposal, Republican controlled House or not. Where is the Barack Obama charisma we elected?

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