Everyone who follows politics has their advice, or their take on things. The contemporary progressives and other lefties keep saying that Obama is selling them out time and again, and really is just losing all credibility as a liberal. The mainstream media, great advice givers like Ultimate Moderate David Broder keep saying that the President has to tack to the center. The so-called moderate Democrats have been parroting this, too, as if it’s 15 or 20 years ago and everything is a replay of Bill Clinton.
So it’s either be more firmly left-leaning, or keep doing whatever the Republicans keep demanding in Congress, which has seemed to be to overturn the results of the 2008 election since about, well, the day after that election.
My own feeling, though, is that the man just has to start being more tough. He’s not acting tough, and that’s 80% of the problem. It’s not enough if he has staff-member assholes, which I think was Rahm Emanuel’s supposed function. The President has to get out there and actually say, “give me what I want”. Or, “sorry, no way.” From what I know about American sociology, about American life, is that the President is concerned about seeming “too black”. So, as a result, he avoids the confrontations that frankly, are the things that are going to give him a more successful Presidency.
Maureen Dowd or one of them at the Times said Obama should be “less Spocky and more Rocky”.
But he really ought to be more like B.A. Baracus, played by the legendary Mr. T.
You would never imagine T’s character going around trying to appease his enemies. After all, his line was “pity the fool who . . .” and he almost always backed that up with action. At the end of the show, there was no mistake as to the fool was, and it wasn’t B.A. Baracus.
The stereotype in American culture is that black men are tough, and really, one tougher. Like, whatever level you think you are, then one more than that. OK, so maybe it’s nice to have a sort of re-imagining of the Presidency with a white-acting prez who “just happens to be” an African-American; but the story line is just a bit off. It’s like one off.
Black kids who really make it in America learn to bridge the gap between the white community and their roots. This has been going on since well before the Civil Rights era. So the people skills learned are very sophisticated and very valuable. I think blacks who are successes in American society have a lot to teach other people about how you get along, how you make friends, and how you treat people. It’s really something to be in the underdog position and win in the end. Sometimes, even, win big–like big money or power or fame.
This idea, though, of “I can’t show you my anger or let anyone see me go off” because I’m black, is just too grating, and, really, an offense to the idea of equality for which every honest American should adhere to with great passion. There are visible, assertive, aggressive African Americans in the military, the corporate board room, of course, the sports world–in all walks of life nowadays. It’s no shock when a person of color with bona fide power draws a line and says “don’t cross it”.
This is not President Obama, is it? It’s more Shirley Sherrod defending her reputation from a slanderer than it is Obama. It’s more Skip Gates and the white cop whose name escapes me at the moment, the have-a-beer thing from 2009. It’s some “No, no, no! Sorry! This is how it is. Not what you say, what I say.”
For me, I hate confrontation. Some people go looking for it; I deal with it when I have to. Maybe I am a milquetoast geeky white guy. Maybe I see you can only get so far with it, and you can’t use it everyday.
But one thing is for certain: it has its place. And if you aren’t confrontational, at least at sometime, you become the carpet mat.
Barack Obama is looking like the carpet mat.