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Monday, August 23, 2010

Obama Lacks the Statesman Gene

As many of us ponder the utter lack of statesmen - or stateswomen - in political office, it is apparent that the absence of such leaders comes from the top down. An important lesson adults learn is that we lead by example. What example does the President set?

From an op-ed in the Washington Post:

The candidate who pledged to reach across party lines passed his agenda in a steady march of party-line votes and strong-arm legislative maneuvers. The candidate who sought to transcend partisan divisions is viewed in a recent Democracy Corps poll as "too liberal" by 56 percent of likely voters. The candidate who said he would "fundamentally change the way Washington works" has seen public distrust of government grow to pre-French Revolutionary levels

And this: Few presidencies have been built so consciously or completely on an idealistic brand, with its own distinctive language and icons. But this "new kind of politics" has proved conventional in its conduct, predictable in its content and exceptional only for the depth of division it has inspired. The Obama administration is presented not just with the prospect of electoral repudiation but also with a question: How will it adjust to the death of the belief that gave it birth?

Democrats running for office are, in fact, running away from Obama. A recent poll by a Democratic polling company found that in key Democratic races:
The advice from Democratic consultants and strategists is almost unanimous: Run away from the president, and fast. A prominent Democratic pollster is circulating a survey that shows George W. Bush is 6 points more popular than President Obama in “Frontline” districts — seats held by Democrats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees as most vulnerable to Republican takeover. That Bush is more popular than Obama in Democratic-held seats is cause for outright fear.

But disassociating oneself from an incumbent president is never easy, and Democrats have to walk a narrow line.


Little in the way of leadership comes from President Obama. He shows he is not up to the job of acting as a statesman with his style of campaigning for the mid-term elections. Knowing from the results of numerous polls that the Democrats will take a strong hit in November, the leader of the Democratic party, Barack Obama, President of the United States, lowers himself to sniping low level partisan attacks on Republicans. He lowers himself so easily that it is a bit alarming. He doesn't seem to understand that the office of The President demands a bit of decorum, a need to nuance statements towards your opposition. His level is fine for a state senator from Illinois - the office he held longest - but not for the Presidency. How sad.

At a time when Americans are feeling the lagging economic recovery, it would behoove Obama to lift up his fellow Americans - even Republicans. It serves no good purpose to jump into the fray and encourage deeper chasms. He promised better of himself.

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