Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama Rattled? Scrutinizing the President's Cool

barack obama first primetime press conferenceHe's known as the epitome of cool, but as I watched President Barack H. Obama answer the first question tonight during the press conference, a question that challenged whether the economic crisis is as dire as he says and potentially irreversible if his plan is not accepted, he looked a little rattled. The question suggested that President Obama may be may be a Henny Penny/Chicken Little, and I thought the president seemed slightly defensive. That realization made think that the negotiations for the stimulus package are stressing him out a tad, but stress is normal in war.

Obama's exceptional at swaying opinions to his corner, but his persuasive gifts may not be enough to move some Republicans and possibly even some Democrats with hidden agendas to his side. I'm thinking now of a passage in his book The Audacity of Hope in which he says then President George W. Bush gave him advice. Obama was a young senator then:
According to Obama's account, Bush went on to offer the new U.S. senator from Illinois a little advice. "You've got a bright future," Bush said, according to the book. "Very bright. But I've been in this town for a while and, let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunnin' for ya.

"And it won't necessarily be coming from my side, you understand," Bush continued. "From yours, too. Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself."

"Thanks for the advice, Mr. President," Obama responded. (WaPo)
President Obama is soooo optimistic at times, but I'm sure he'd say he's also a realist. Further, he describes himself as having an even mood and not easily unnerved, and people who've know him well say this assessment is accurate.

Nevertheless, he'll need to be more careful in his responses and follow the K.I.S.S. method more in answering questions. If he doesn't simplify and we hear too often a hint of insecurity, then I foresee him experiencing what the fictional President Whitmore in the movie Independence Day experienced. A fictionalized American media that once spoke of Whitmore's great vision and the value of his youth switched to likening him to the fictional character Oliver Twist, to a little boy going up to the big guys asking "Please, sir, I want some more."

Here's an excerpt of from that movie's script:
INT. BREAKFAST TABLE - CONTINUOUS

Two servants are preparing breakfast as Whitmore and Constance
enter. Whitmore sits down, grabs a coffee.

WHITMORE
You're up early this morning,
Connie.

She tosses him one of the many newspapers in her hands.

CONSTANCE
They're not attacking your
policies, they're attacking your
age.
(another paper; reading)
"...addressing Congress, Whitmore
seems less like the President and
more like the orphan child Oliver
asking, 'please sir, I'd like some
more.'"

WHITMORE
Clever.

CONSTANCE
Age was never an issue when you
stuck to your gun. You were
thought of as young and
idealistic. But the message has
gotten lost. There's too much
compromise, too much politics.

WHITMORE
(pointedly)
Isn't it amazing how fast everyone
can turn against you.

Realizing she may be pushing him too far, she hands him
another paper.

CONSTANCE
Well, the Orange County Register
has named you one of the ten
sexiest men of the year.

WHITMORE
You see, substance at last
Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Come to think of it, Obama's been pegged as sexy as well, just like Whitmore.

The good thing for us Americans here is that Oliver came out on top, and President Whitmore turned out to be a genuine hero who shone for the American people during a crisis.

Here's a clip from that movie where President Whitmore gives an important speech. If you ignore that it's not the 4th of July today, think of Republicans as attacking aliens, and replace the word "world" with "America," the speech almost fits this moment. Almost.



Seriously though, Obama's stimulus package is part bailout and has deserved the scrutiny it gets.

Hmm, I like the compliment he gave to veteran journalist Helen Thomas, saying that it was his inaugural moment to have her ask him a question. Then that whipper-snapper, Sam Stein of The Huffington Post got to ask a question.

If Obama's administration really is going to examine all viable approaches, then I applaud that. Was it just me, or did you also get the image of crap being flushed when he spoke of removing "ideological blockage."

1 comment:

Revvy Rev said...

I think that there are some who are determined that this presidency is just not going to work and that they will use any means necessary to ensure that it doesn't even to the overall detriment of the country. Prez will grow up on the job. He will have to.