Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is Obama Ready to Put on the Gloves?

A lot of commentators are saying that the President is ready to mix it up and live up to the promise we expected! What do you think?
by Charlie Leck

Charles Blow, in a commentary in the NY Times, writes that Obama is coming out of “a year in which he toddled about as if someone had slipped him an Ambien, taking punches and not returning them.”

Now, however?

“He almost looks like the president people thought that he would be,” says Blow, “ – a paladin, not a pacifist.”

Let us, for the sake of the country and the sake of the Democratic Party, hope so. We need a fighter. We need a leader. I would be thrilled and eat every one of my words of the last few months in front of public witnesses. However, don’t start printing out those blogs yet; for this is a President who has shown us signs of valor and determination in the past, only to step back and away from a clash for what seemed to be political reasons.

His new sense of determination is, nevertheless, hopeful.

This is a President who needs to find his stride again. In reading, a couple of times, the extraordinary book, Game Change, it became obvious that Obama was knocked off his stride a few times during the campaign. He’d actually lose his style and his speeches became more like the “aw shucks” lingo of an Alabama redneck. He’d circle and circle and circle an issue, but never land. He seems to have had that same problem for the last few months. Now it appears that someone has butt kicked him and he’s ready to roll again. Maybe it was his remarkable campaign manager, David Plouffe, who was called back into the White House by those surrounding Obama just in order to have a long conversation with the President.

Our President campaigned hard on bi-partisanship. It was a lofty ideal. In fact, the Republican Party has rejected his attempts to court them. The President acted like a teenager who’d lost his girl to the fat kid who plays third-string tackle for the high school football team. Could this really happen to him, the handsome and popular quarterback?

I think Plouffe shook the President up and suggested he get back to work on the agenda he had promised the American people and the Republicans be given another chance to get aboard along with a warning that the train was leaving the station with or without them.

Obama is suddenly acting like a President with an attitude. I, for one, like it.

Bobby Kennedy was a remarkable political thinker. I’ve enjoyed reading his ramblings on politics and political strategies in America. He believed that winners in major elections were nearly always that candidate who came closer to making the voter believe he was in the middle or centrist position. However, once elected, Kennedy did not believe that the guy in the center, the moderate, was very much liked by those who watched him. The public wants a President who leads us into action rather than stalling out because he cannot gain a consensus.

“I would advise this new Obama to stick around for a season,” Blow concluded in his commentary. “I prefer my presidents walking tall, not sleepwalking.”

And I advise that David Plouffe stay nearby, so he can give the President a good, swift kick in the pants on those occasions when Mr. Obama needs it.

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