It's Not A Question Of Style

In the New York Times today, Ishmael Reed writes:

I’ve listened in the last week to progressives criticize President Obama for keeping his cool. Progressives have been urging the president to “man up” in the face of the Republicans. Some want him to be like John Wayne. On horseback. Slapping people left and right. [. . .] If President Obama behaved that way, he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people.

[. . .] When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves. [. . .] Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.

What a bizarre piece. The issue is not about shouting. It is about policy. Some folks don't like the policies the President is espousing. They really don't care if he is the "coolest man in the room." If being the coolest man in the room produced policies and results they agreed with, they would be cheering him. If yelling produced policies and results they disagreed with, they would be upset. If Mr. Reed has something to say in defense of the President's POLICY choices, I would be interested in reading them. Nonsensical pop psychology is not interesting to me.

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    Well, apologists need new (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:54:28 AM EST
    arguments.  The only been in office two years; Bush left a bad mess to clean up; the president is powerless, it is all up to the Congress (in the face of  the president making deals for the  Democratic congress)-- are less operable these days.

    It's pretzel time! (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by nycstray on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:55:04 AM EST

    Style is what got him elected ... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:44:43 PM EST
    and his supporters and advisors think that will work again.

    There'll be talk about substance too, of course, but once again follow through won't match the promises. Any talk about policy/substance will again just be talk.

    No question that Obama is a political style maven.  The problem is that he isn't a governing maven.

    Style...substance...two different things with two different skill sets.  Obama is deficient in the latter as is now undeniable.

    Big trouble in River City.

    It's (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:02:27 PM EST
    so ironic too because the press loved W. because of his style too. Maybe in the future voters will quit picking presidents because they want to have a beer with them or because they want to be "cool".

    It's our culture now. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:26:58 PM EST
    Obsession with celebrity and style.  Cool!

    Voters are unlikely to unhook from the culture any more than anyone else...more likely, less!  You've notice the explosion of 'reality shows' as entertainment?  Style!  Little, if any, substance.


    Style and lack of experience (none / 0) (#12)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:50:03 PM EST
    is what both Presidents brought to the table!

    "Both presidents?" (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oldpro on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 03:20:21 PM EST
    I hope you mean Bush and Obama and not Clinton re lack of experience.  Clearly he had been an effective governor, unlike W.

    Obama's experience?  Running for office.


    Yes, Clinton understands (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 05:44:46 PM EST
    And, he has always been smart/savvy enough to understand the options. He knows when he can speak or pull back or push. And--what I heard him say the other day is that he understands and supports The Deal. Given his background and his ability to maneuver, that carries weight with a lot of people.

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 05:49:16 PM EST
    he was telling the truth when he said it's the best deal that was going to be had. After all when Obama is the one negotiating we all know that he'll give everything away.

    What I heard him say (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by masslib on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:13:13 PM EST
    was it was the best "bipartisan" deal.  What I saw him do was a political favor.

    And, we all know (none / 0) (#23)
    by christinep on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:03:07 PM EST
    that former President Clinton has the cachet to do and say what he wants. Political favor or not...he was not coerced by any means. He does know a deal when he sees one, methinks.

    That's so typical of (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:05:14 PM EST
    Obama apologists---you never can come up with a direct defense of his policies.

    Clinton knows that O'Reagan (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:07:29 PM EST
    would only "negotiate" a worse deal if this one fails.

    Yes, it's the best possible (none / 0) (#20)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 06:03:21 PM EST
    unless people admit O'Reagan is the enemy of Dems.

    Yes, I meant (none / 0) (#27)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Dec 25, 2010 at 10:28:33 AM EST
    the two most recent Presidents!  SOrry if I confused....

    I Don't Care About Cool Points (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Jade Jordan on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:16:05 PM EST
    I'd settle for progressive policy points.  If he got angry at someone besides the leftist hippies it would be great.

    Micheal Jordan got visibly angry and yelled at his teammates when they did not produce.  They did not call him an angry black man they called him a WINNER.

    What an airhead. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by masslib on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 01:52:56 PM EST
    I could care a less how Obama gets the right policies passed, just that he does at least try to get the right policies passed.

    this comment on that piece (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:10:24 PM EST
    nails it:

    If Mr. Reed is right, [and] the President is in fact doing all he can, given who he is, then this is what we should have heard from Candidate Obama: "I agree with you, things should change, but because I'm a black man, I really won't be able to fight for you. Perception is what matters most, and to keep my Republican opponents and corporate America from thinking badly of me, I'll have to keep many of their policies in place and make big compromises on the few I can alter. That way, although they might still call me Hitler, Marx, a Muslim, or a traitor, they certainly won't be able to call me an angry black man."

    Reed's piece also brings up the challenge to libs (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by jawbone on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 04:33:36 PM EST
    and lefties and even progressives: If you do not support this black president, you, all of you, will be responsible for the demise of the Democratic Party.

    The money men who backed Obama knew they could cow the liberal side of the party with this very message. Obama's feet cannot be held to the fire, by libs, lefties, progressives; to do so is to attack him and that will lead to a schism in the Dem Party.

    That's so 2008 (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 08:55:50 AM EST
    "If you don't agree with Obama, you must be a racist."

    Been there.  Done that.  Bought the t-shirt.


    And this is another version of He's Doing All He (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by jawbone on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 04:36:13 PM EST
    Can --What More Can You Expect of Him? Stop being mean!

    Yeah, Peter Principle at work (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 04:42:24 PM EST
    Here we go again (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 05:11:02 PM EST
    It may just be a matter of time before the President apologises for calling Republicans "hostage takers"....link

    What a load (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:49:09 AM EST
    I for one like his cool approach. That is not at all the problem for me.

    Cool vs. Disconnected (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 02:24:42 PM EST
    I don't see cool, I see disconnected.  Sorry.  

    The fact is (none / 0) (#4)
    by SOS on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 12:02:03 PM EST
    in the big picture it will not change the way the top lizards in global politics, money and war have done business since the feudal age -- which is to say with arrogant disregard for the rest of us.

    the coolest man? Bwhaaaaaaa (none / 0) (#21)
    by pluege2 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 06:38:08 PM EST
    what was that little upchuck Mr. cool had last week over the left not licking his feet over his awesomest deal of all time. Really, really not cool.