For John, BLUF: Our President's style invites questions. Nothing to see here; just move along.
In the "Focus" Section of this Sunday's edition of The Lowell Sun is an article trying to explain former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani's remarks about President Barack Obama. The author is Mr Ed Rogers, who contributes to The Washington Post. And, of course, there is a contribution by Mr Michael Goldman.♠
I understand the point Mr Rogers is trying to make. As for Mr Goldman, I am not so sure. The thing is, we expect our Presidents to be cheer leaders, to be leading us with motivational speeches, à la George S Patton from the movie. Standing up there with a huge American flag as a backdrop. Problem is, that is not President Obama. I am convinced, notwithstanding the assertions of my more "Conservative" friends, that President Obama does love this nation. He is a man with options. He could have opted to go to Kenya, the land of his Father, where he would have had a successful life. He could have gone to Indonesia, the land of his Step-Father, where his intellect would have made him a standout. No, he stayed here. Moved to the heartland big city, Chicago. Turned his life over to Jesus and got married.
The problem for the President is that he is analytic and he sees the problems we, as Americans, face and he wants to do better. He isn't the first to have this view. There is that racist idealist, Woodrow Wilson, for example. There is President Jimmy Carter, who tried the fire-side chat, but instead of pointing to a better future, pointed to a more limited future, and lost the Presidency in 1980.
The current President's style is to be a bit of a scold. His ad-libbing at the National Prayer Breakfast reflected this side of him. I think the President missed a great opportunity. He could have equated Daesh with the Klan and said that while Christianity in this nation had a history of growing ecumenicalism, while maintaining individual denominational distinctions. This National Prayer Breakfast being an example. Then he could have noted that we have experienced some regrettable deviations from our path, mainly the Klan, which engaged in barbarous behavior, toward Blacks and toward Caucasians, including Jews and Italians. It took us a while to get our heads and hands around Lynchings, but we did and now it is time for some other nations to do the same. The President would be praising all the folks in the room, helping them celebrate, which they were there for, and at the same time use that celebration to call for others to step up and join our "exceptionalism".
The President tends to think he is in a classroom and we are his students. One can do that, but one must be very subtle in so doing. The President isn't always subtle and thus he arouses questions. The good news for him is that he is in his second term and thus will not suffer the ignominy of President Jimmy Carter, a well intentioned leader who didn't know how to lead.
In the mean time, the bien-pensant in the media seem unable to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Well, maybe contribution is too generous. Mr Goldman does call Mayor Giuliani an idiot. That isn't polite, nor is it classy.