Deepak Chopra (SFGate): President Barack Obama is already pulling a bit of a hat trick, managing to sustain higher popularity than either George Bush or Ronald Reagan when they were stuck in economic doldrums …. with the Republican House effectively blocking any potential stimulus, and the entire Republican Party bent on being the party of “No” …. many commentators have jumped on a new bandwagon … now we are told that the Republican party is energized, thinks it can beat Obama and only needs a stand-up candidate….
I doubt it.
The pundits have left leadership out of the equation …
… There are three needs that serve as the foundation of a healthy society, as they do for a healthy individual.
1. Security: The country needs to be free of anxiety, with a sense that normal life isn’t overshadowed by threats … The President has consistently refused to give in to anxiety, maintaining that …. we will emerge from this recession stronger than ever
… the Republicans’ tactic, continued from the Bush era, is to increase our nervousness. The sky is always falling down on the right wing …. Not a single Republican, with the possible exception of Mitt Romney, offers a reassuring tone….
2. Achievement: … Obama has been rooting for the American spirit, promising a better future, and offering economic stimulus and jobs programs. He constantly points to a new future of innovation, restored infrastructure, stronger research and development and renewable energy. He doesn’t attack globalism but faces the fact that global competition means that change must come to America.
….Republican response is reactionary. They trumpet jingoistic slogans while hunkering down for a grim tomorrow. They block any kind of stimulus, viable jobs programs, renewable energy and so on…..
3. Unity and community: …. the President has talked about bipartisanship and the end of crippling divisiveness in politics …. he stands as a potent symbol for overcoming ancient social prejudice…..
… what Republican candidate is even trying to make America feel united? … even the most optimistic Republican strategists realize that all their candidates, with the possible exception of Romney, are dividers. The irony is that Romney divides Republicans, because he won’t tilt toward Tea Party extremism.
…. the President realizes that the level of the problem (fear, insecurity, divisiveness, uncertainty, frustration, anger) isn’t the level of the solution. The level of the solution is to fulfill the three needs just outlined. Trapped in their ideology and hostility to progress, the Republicans aren’t even on the map in these areas. Next November the pivot point won’t be the economy, not alone at least. The pivot will be whether the electorate wants its needs fulfilled or its anger expressed. I know it’s a tossup, but I can’t blame the president for not doing what leaders need to do. He is.
Washington Post: A President Obama impersonator brought down the house Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference, telling a string of racially themed jokes about the president.
The impersonator, Reggie Brown, took the stage at the annual presidential cattle call to the Bruce Springsteen song “Born in the USA” – an allusion to the birther controversy.
A sampling of what followed:
• On Black History Month: “Michelle celebrates the full month. I celebrate half.”
• “My mother loved a black man,” but “she was not a Kardashian.”
• A picture was shown of Obama and the first lady when he took office. The impersonator then showed a picture of what the Obamas will look like when the president leaves office, and it was the characters of Fred Sanford and his sister-in-law, Ethel, from the show “Sanford and Son.”
• Of Tim Pawlenty’s decision not to criticize Mitt Romney at Monday’s debate: “[CNN’s] John King served him up a ball softer than Barney Frank’s backside.” (Frank is a gay member of Congress from Massachusetts.)
….Eventually, Brown was ushered offstage by the man who introduced him. Conference organizers did not immediately respond to questions about why Brown was ushered offstage or whether his jokes were approved in advance.
Thanks to Lisa for this – from GOPolitico: “Brown didn’t just limit his jokes to Obama, though. He also mocked Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, ridiculed Newt Gingrich’s faltering campaign and suggested Tim Pawlenty needed a spinal transplant.
As Brown was preparing to make a Michele Bachmann joke, one of the conference’s officials came out to the lectern and told the comedian to leave the stage.”
So they were okay with the racist, homophobic stuff, they drew the line at him making jokes about Bachmann?
Our very own GGail contacted Reggie Brown’s agent (firstname.lastname@example.org) – this is the reply she got:
“We’ve done the same speech in Harlem for a black advocacy group that we support and they laughed. It’s called comedy and I’m sorry that you don’t understand. The press is spinning this out of control and we would appreciate support from the public rather than falling into a media trap. Reggie is being used by the media both on the right and the left so that they can score political points at his expense. Our show was nothing more than political comedy that goofed on both sides; it wad no worse than what President Obama did at his own White House Correspondence Dinner.
Walter Rodgers (Christian Science Monitor): “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it.”
….the big lie repeated about President Obama has been that he’s not a real leader … Some of this maligning reflects darker bigotry toward Mr. Obama. But it also shows our outdated and wrongheaded notions of leadership.
American culture mistakenly prizes bravado and arrogance as sure signs of leadership. Public showmanship – like donning a flight suit in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – is easy. Quiet, cool, competence that gets results – like pulling together an international coalition to protect civilians in Libya in record time – is hard. It’s a bias we learn as kids. Our history books lionize war heroes, yet are often silent about the diplomats who prevented conflict.
Let’s recall the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished (see here)
….Forgetting these and other accomplishments …. Goebbels-style nihilism that rejects anything Obama does as odious remains a powerful narrative. The good news is that Obama’s shrewd and calculated management of the hunt for bin Laden shows how hollow these critiques are…
….Obama’s hawkish critics chide him for allegedly “sitting on the sidelines” during recent uprisings in Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Take it from someone who has reported from across the Middle East: Sitting out potential Arab civil wars isn’t abdication of leadership; it is wisdom.
And yet, when facing near-certain humanitarian disaster, Obama wisely and rapidly put together a broad NATO coalition to deal with the Libyan revolt while keeping American involvement to a minimum – no boots on the ground and no dead Americans.
…A friend, a center-right voter, told me recently, “The reason I voted for Obama is because he has no hatred in him.” In another era of divisive bitterness, Lincoln preached, “with malice toward none, with charity toward all.” It’s worth noting how closely Obama’s philosophy of leadership approaches that.