President Barack Obama participates a discussion on poverty at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Georgetown hosted the Catholic Evangelical Leadership Summit on fighting poverty in America
President Barack Obama participates in a discussion on poverty with (L-R) moderator E.J. Dionne, Jr., Robert Putman Professor at Harvard University, and Arthur Brooks President of the American Enterprise Institute
Ever since then Senator Obama decided to run for president in 2007, he has been modelling the behavior he would wish all of us and, particularly all Democrats, to follow. He never panicked or over dramatized anything, but patiently, methodically built an organization that was bigger, better and infinitely more effective than the existing Democratic Party. And he did it with finesse and courtesy, never once publicly criticizing the Democratic establishment or embarrassing any individual, no matter how much he was insulted by them. He showed us how to have immense grace under pressure, how to press forward on difficult days, how to shut out the naysayers, how to respect our skills and empower each other. As president he has showed us optimism combined with pragmatism and realism. He has never stooped to the level of his enemies and has tried to seek a common ground, even as he worked against the most massive obstruction in history. After the midterms, he literally went in front of the cameras and taught us how to act– not to cower or despair, but to lift our heads with pride and a sense of optimism and move forward. He told us by his actions alone to give nothing to our critics, waste no sorrow on our enemies, remain undaunted at our prospects and just keep moving forward bringing light and honesty into the darkest hate. If Democrats in this country–and that includes you, Jon Tester–opened their eyes and realized how much this incredible president is teaching us every day we would not only become better human beings, we would never lose another election.
President Obama shakes hands with military service members prior to a meeting with military senior leadership at the Pentagon on October 8
President Barack Obama meets with senior military leadership at the Pentagon in Arlington (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama participates in a conference call with state and local officials to discuss the Administration’s domestic preparedness response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, at the White House on October 8
Text of Remarks by the President in Conference Call here
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, President Obama and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey sit in a meeting with Military Senior Leadership at the Pentagon on October 8, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia. The President met with the military leaders for an update on the battle against ISIS.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and President Obama greet members of the military after attending meetings with military leadership at the Pentagon
First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a Fashion Education Workshop at the White House. The workshop was to connect students with leading fashion professionals to show what to take to succeed in the fashion industry
First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine, after she was introduced by Wintour during a session of a Fashion Education Workshop
Fashion stylist Mary Alice Stephenson attends a session of a Fashion Education Workshop
First Lady Michelle Obama introduces Chelsea Chen, who won a design competition
Fashion designer Jason Wu applauds First Lady Michelle Obama as she hosts a luncheon and panel discussion
Fashion designer Phillip Lim takes a picture of First Lady Michelle Obama
Fashion designers Edward Wilkerson (L) and Thom Browne (R) applaud First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama hugs fashion designer Naeem Khan during a fashion construction workshop session at the first ever Fashion Education Workshop in the State Dining Room at the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with young fashion design students
First Lady Michelle Obama visits the “Wearable Technology” workshop. Wearable technology is the integration of technology with fashion, like boots that charges cellphone, bras that detect cancer, compression shirts that monitor and record your heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature
Okay, we have heard over and over and over again about how manly Putin is with all his bear wrestling and topless horseback riding (although his manboobs tend to detract from that image). And we have heard over and over again what a wuss and coward President Obama is.
And we have heard over and over again how Putin is such a great leader because he just does what he wants and gets others to do what he wants them to. And WE have heard over and over again how President Obama doesn’t know how to lead and instead gets led around by the nose by Putin and others.
Forget, for a moment that most of the people saying those things are also the same people who call President Obama a dictator and totalitarian despot, thus actually saying he is just like Putin and therefore contradict themselves time and again.
Instead, let’s focus for a little on just what it means to be a man (I know this is not politically correct and is somewhat gender specific, but I am trying to speak directly to the criticisms). At the same time, let’s also focus on what it means to be a leader. And guess what? The two end up being very similar in terms of what qualities either one requires. And, for fairness sake, let’s drop the word “man” and insert the word “adult”.
Rudyard Kipling, for all that he represented colonialism and a sense of the Great White Uplifting of Inferior Peoples, did have some awareness of the difference between being an adult and being a juvenile. And the words he used to define the difference also tend to apply, to a great degree, to the concept of leadership. By that, I mean that one cannot truly be an effective leader without those qualities. Yes there are other qualities that comprise being a leader and I will get to those later.
Righty now, I want to dissect one of his most famous poems “If” and see just what it says about President Obama and, perhaps, Putin and see who comes out on top. I will be doing this on a stanza by stanza basis, so bear with me.
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.