Friday, March 16, 2012

Caged In

"The Cagey Phase" is not intended as a compliment to President Obama. While Mr. Brooks finds much to like about the President, ultimately he questions whether the President has the "indomitable inner conviction and aggressive drive to push change" or if he has the fortitude to be a "fervent crusader (ready) to rally the country behind shared sacrifice". I disagree with Mr. Brooks' perception and his conclusions.

He suggests that the President has lost the "all-in" mojo that he exhibited in his push for health care reform. Yes, that legislation was an enormous task and a huge gamble, given historical precedent. But even in that arena, President Obama displayed what Mr. Brooks would call 'cageyness' and what I would call political perspective. The President's preference would have been to promote a system of single payer health care. Yet never did the discussion go down that path. For it was understood, in that political battle, as well as all the others that have been fought during this administration, that passionate belief does not equate with misguided hubris. The Republicans are the party of bluster and lines drawn in the sand. For this President, each fight must be defined and its limits understood.

In Libya and in the killing of Osama Bin Laden, in those moments where bold and decisive action were demanded, and where he was free from the constraints of requiring Republican approval,  the President demonstrated that level of  "indomitable conviction" of which Mr. Brooks speaks. In his domestic policies and pursuits, the President has been a fervent crusader calling upon all of us to be part of the solution, and not allowing those at the very top to remain at the heart of the problem. It is the realistic restrictions of government, and the deliberate destructive actions of the opposition, not a limited resolve of the President, that has hampered necessary reform.

No, Mr. Brooks, I think you miscalculate both the strength of the man and of his convictions. What you would suggest is weakness and the President being "cagey", is merely a reflection of your inability to appreciate a leader who understands and reacts to the complexities of each situation with intelligence and rationality. These qualities make him not less of a President but more.

No comments: