Feel Their Pain

Politics is almost all BS. Unfortunately, to get to the non-BS - governing, you need to have good politicians. It so happens that President Barack Obama is a GREAT politician. But he is not great at the whole "feel their pain" part of it.

Charles Blow writes:

There are many things at which the president is extraordinarily gifted. Emoting isnít one of them.

True dat. But what would be worse is if the President felt compelled to try and go Bill Clinton. That's not who he is. Some folks complain about this nonsense (and nonsense it is), but most of politics is nonsense. This is a different part of the nonsense (another part is the big inspiring speeches.) Politics is what it is. In terms of the President's policy and performance on Deep Water? I have not the first clue. But I knew that this situation was not going to fit his political skills very well. The best political move for the President is to do whatever he can to resolve the problem. Good governance is the best politics now. Feeling the pain is not the answer - certainly not for this President.

Speaking for me only

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    His analytical nature appeals to me actually. (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Dr Molly on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:17:07 PM EST
    Too bad it doesn't end up producing much for us in the end.

    Wow. You said a mouthful and (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by oldpro on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:20:21 PM EST
    I agree with every word.

    Governing is always the test and it was the most important issue for me as a (then) Democrat.  I couldn't make the faith-based leap of hope with so little evidence of governing experience to rely on.

    I hope the president can rise to the occasion and fulfill both the expectations of his supporters and the needs of the country.

    Beyond feeling your pain, WJC had ... (5.00 / 9) (#15)
    by RonK Seattle on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:03:16 PM EST
    ... an immense capacity for action - to grasp the levels of government, to find ways and do things about your pain (as demonstrated in response to the Great Flood of 1993 and many occasions thereafter).

    Any demonstrative "acting" on his part was merely icing on the meat and potatoes of his acting urgently on real problems large and small.


    Hey, Ron! Couldn't agree more... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oldpro on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:17:55 PM EST
    Bill was and IS a problem solver and it always matters when the problems hurt the people who need the help of government most.  That used to be the definition of a Democrat.  Now we'll find out if it still is.

    Who could forget how (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by jondee on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:21:14 PM EST
    how WJC sprang into the breach in response to the pangs of heartsickness emanating from the neo-liberal breasts of Greenspan, Rubin and the Free Traders..so evocative was it of the struggles of the ordinary working people he grew up around in Arkansas..

    Paying Wall St back was just Bill's way of paying all the faceless, nameless Americans back..


    Ordinary working people ... (5.00 / 5) (#54)
    by RonK Seattle on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:05:20 PM EST
    ... came out of the Clinton years better off, and they knew it. A rare distinction among Presidents.

    Nameless, faceless ideologues always had trouble with that.


    Ordinary (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 04:34:14 AM EST
    neo-liberal, crotch-sniffing yuppies, who hitched their portfolios to the outsourcing train -- and celebrated the creation of millions of new Wal-Mart and Burger King jobs in the U.S --  certainly came through the Clinton years better off. That much everyone knows.

    You (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 30, 2010 at 05:29:50 AM EST
    must not know too many blue collar workers then. My neighbors did way better under WJC than they have under either Bush or Obama.

    exactly (none / 0) (#64)
    by klassicheart on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:57:49 PM EST
    How about exactly expanding (none / 0) (#68)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 04:47:29 AM EST
    on some of the actual, concrete details of what made the nineties such a time of prosperity for "the ordinary working man"?

    'kay (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:52:21 AM EST
    More than 22 million new jobs - the highest of any administration.

    Lowest unemployment rate in over 3 decades - AA and Hispanic unemployment rates (8.2%/5.6%) the lowest on record.

    Fastest and longest real wage growth since the 1960s.

    Average household income breaks $40,000 mark for the first time in history.

    Tax cuts/EITC for lower income/working class families.

    Lowest inflation since the 1960s.

    Largest investment in education in over 30 years (HOPE/Lifetime Learning tax credits, PELL/work study expansion).  Expanded Head Start by 90%.

    Etc., etc., etc. ...

    Don't you have access to Google?


    Clinton (none / 0) (#128)
    by norris morris on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:37:12 PM EST
    And yes, all of that and Clinton left us with a huge surplus and balanced budget which Bush immediately squandered by giving 2 tax breaks to the wealthly, and engaged us in two wars.

    Yeah, yeah (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Yman on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:23:55 PM EST
    Bill Clinton is an evil, free-trading capitalist pig who supported NAFTA and failed to support a useless/symbolic veto of GLB, therefore he has no capacity to empathize with ordinary working people and all of his "good" actions as POTUS are rendered moot.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Yawn ...


    ..Helped set in motion (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 05:14:07 AM EST
    the conditions for the economic collapse by suspending his brilliant, take-charge instincts and letting the Greenspan-Rubin gang push Wall St deregulation as far it could go..

    Oh well. Yawn. Ancient history.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by squeaky on Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:40:31 AM EST
    Clinton was all for deregulation. The exact type of deregulation that led to derivative trading that led to the financial collapse.

    Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that--in combination with many other factors--helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why....

    And that's not an accident: Perhaps the only domestic issue George Bush and Bill Clinton were in complete agreement about was maximizing home ownership, each trying to lay claim to a record percentage of homeowners, and both describing their efforts as a boon to blacks and Hispanics. HUD, Fannie, and Freddie were their instruments, and, as is now apparent, the more unsavory the means, the greater the growth. But, as Paul Krugman noted in the Times recently, "homeownership isn't for everyone," adding that as many as 10 million of the new buyers are stuck now with negative home equity--meaning that with falling house prices, their mortgages exceed the value of their homes. So many others have gone through foreclosure that there's been a net loss in home ownership since 1998.

    It is also worth remembering that the motive for this bipartisan ownership expansion probably had more to do with the legion of lobbyists working for lenders, brokers, and Wall Street than an effort to walk in MLK's footsteps. Each mortgage was a commodity that could be sold again and again--from the brokers to the bankers to the securities market. If, at the bottom of this pyramid, the borrower collapsed under the weight of his mortgage's impossible terms, the home could be repackaged a second or a third time and either refinanced or dumped on a new victim.

    Wayne Barrett VIllage Voice


    See? Clinton Butterfly Effect (1.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 12:49:43 PM EST
    So easy, even Squeaky can do it.

    What do you think the odds are that, in 10 years or so, she'll be blaming Obama for every civil liberty injustice, based on Obama's embrace of unitary executive powers?

    I put it at 2:1.


    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by squeaky on Sun May 30, 2010 at 12:55:07 PM EST
    You must have a serious case to imagine that Wayne Barrett's expose on Cuomo, who was a Clinton footsoldier is fluff, or has anything to do with the partisan game you are playing.

    Bet you are a huge Cuomo fan too.

    Blinders are never needed for your crowd; kool aid is the wonder drug.


    No need for drugs (3.66 / 3) (#84)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 01:08:13 PM EST
    Sorry, I prefer reality to the True Prog Kool Aid.

    Wayne Barrett's "expose" is nothing more than his opinion, and you know what they say about those.  Opinions are like squeaky's .... everbody's got one.

    As far as your "bet", it's like most of your posts ... all supposition based on speculation built on a heaping pile of mind-reading mixed with an overactive imagination.

    But at least it's funny.


    It's only someones opinion (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 01:59:37 PM EST
    that Wall St deregulation had anything to do with the financial collapse..

    Just a fleeting, emotion-tinged perception..

    Just to be clear, is that what you're claiming, Yman?


    No, ... read it again ... sloooooowly (none / 0) (#92)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 06:02:29 PM EST
    It is my claim that Barrett's "expose", which barely mentions Clinton and focuses on Cuomo's role in overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the conclusions Barrett draws in the article, are nothing more than his (Barrett's) opinion.  But nice try at broadening the imagined premise to include all financial deregulation.

    You're really getting quite good at shooting down your own, straw arguments.


    "The imagined premise"? (none / 0) (#118)
    by jondee on Mon May 31, 2010 at 01:23:49 PM EST
    I believe it was me who introduced the subject of financial deregulation upthread..Which you are obviously too dishonest and or, thick to acknowledge..

    Yeah (none / 0) (#119)
    by squeaky on Mon May 31, 2010 at 01:49:40 PM EST
    They are like mobsters, criticize the big dog and you are dead:

    We gotta send a signal. Nobody messes with our stuff. We have a shipment landing. Cape May, tomorrow night.

     This is a perfect opportunity to set a trap.

     Aaah! Aaah!


     Try this again, I will kill your mothers,
     f*ck your sisters and turn your brothers into eunuchs.
     I think you've made your point, Benny. Let's go...

    We could be bigger than the Jews, bigger than the Irish.
     We could run the whole f*cking country.
    You could be the next John D. Rockefeller, if you let me do it for you.

    Mobster Script


    Subtle. (none / 0) (#120)
    by oculus on Mon May 31, 2010 at 02:38:33 PM EST
    Re: "They are like mobsters.  Criticize the Big Dog and you are dead."  [Italics added.]

    Not slow enough (none / 0) (#121)
    by Yman on Mon May 31, 2010 at 02:43:37 PM EST
    Read it again. My point was that Barrett's piece (and the contortionist conclusions drawn by Squeaky, for that matter), represents nothing more than his opinion.  You tried to twist that into an imaginary premise i.e. that "it is only an opinion that Wall St deregulation had anything to do with the financial collapse."

    But you're getting quite good at shooting arguments ...

    ... as long as they're made of straw.


    Straw? (none / 0) (#122)
    by squeaky on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:11:07 PM EST
    For the history impaired, Andrew Cuomo was a part of President's Clinton's Cabinet. And for the truly ignorant The Cabinet, is not something in his kitchen. From Presdient Bill Clinton himself:

    I think [Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers] were wrong and I think I was wrong to take [to take their advice], because the argument on derivatives was that these things are expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of investors will buy them and they don't need any extra protection, and any extra transparency. The money they're putting up guarantees them transparency. And the flaw in that argument was that first of all sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.



    Try to keep up (none / 0) (#127)
    by Yman on Mon May 31, 2010 at 07:52:25 PM EST
    The "straw argument" was Jondee's intimation that I was claiming that "It is only someone's opinion that Wall St deregulation had anything to do with the financial collapse".  I wasn't arguing that, and I'm still not arguing that, but it's good to see you're as adept at knocking down the straw arguments of others as you are at knocking down your own.  Oh, yeah ...

    ... and congrats on figuring out what a "Cabinet" is.


    I See (none / 0) (#85)
    by squeaky on Sun May 30, 2010 at 01:15:46 PM EST
    Another doppelganger.

    What? (none / 0) (#103)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:06:45 PM EST
    You're wandering back into non sequitur territory, again.

    But...but..but..Truly you got to believe (none / 0) (#81)
    by Rojas on Sun May 30, 2010 at 12:35:18 PM EST
    he felt our pain..

    Exactly (4.25 / 4) (#74)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:03:16 AM EST
    "Helped set in motion ..." blah, blah, blah ...

    You could make the argument that any POTUS "helped set in motion" virtually anything by virtue of any of their acts (or omissions).  Presidential Butterfly Effect, as it were ... doesn't make your claims true.  Fifty years from now, the Dittoheads and the True Progs will still be claiming that the neighbor's dog taking a dump on their lawn is the result of something BC did.  

    Funny stuff.

    BTW - The boredom isn't because it's "ancient history" - it's because your standard response to any criticism of Obama (or positive reference to Clinton) is always the same.  "But, but BUT .... Clinton ...!!!"


    We all know Obama is no great shakes (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 02:10:44 PM EST
    but what is about seeing the name Clinton evoked in any context that isnt hagiographic that makes you seemingly break out in hives and go into circle-the-wagons mode?

    Btw, How about a link for those numbers of yours, that put such a marvelous spin on what was 8 years of an increase in service sector jobs and wage stagnation -- with a very slight upswing in the late nineties?  


    Okay (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Yman on Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:01:09 PM EST
    If you stop breaking out in hives anytime anyone says anything slightly positive about anyone named "Clinton", I'll stop intruding on your True Prog alternate reality.  Deal?

    BTW - Once again, you don't have access to Google?  Don'tcha love the people who never provide evidence of their accusations suddenly asking for links for basic facts that are well documented?  Many of the jobs/wages statistics are from the National Economic Council, 6/00  and the Census Report 9/26/00, but there are other sources.  Tell ya what ... you tell me which part of my "spin" is incorrect, and I'll be happy to point out how you're just making it up ...

    ... again.


    Party Pooper.. (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:43:35 PM EST
    Communicating Isn't Acting (none / 0) (#96)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:54:39 PM EST
    It's doing. And havng a feel and talent for reaching out when it's needed, let alone crucial.

    Obama isn't a leader. (3.66 / 3) (#58)
    by klassicheart on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:04:12 PM EST
    He is an academic who is also a politician.  And I wouldn't  want academics leading this country either.  It takes more than smarts...it takes courage and strength, vision and leadership...and I don't see it in Obama.  Obama is weak, not particularly courageous and wholly a product of a corrupt system.  The Democratic power brokers put him into office.  And I'm not too terribly impressed with them.  I voted for John Kerry  despite the fact I didn't like him and didn't think he was a leader.  I just hated Bush more.  Al Gore would have been much better than Obama as would Howard Dean.  And I voted for Obama  for President because I thought McCain would be worse.  However, next election, I don't think I will continue this pattern.  I doubt I will vote for Obama for a second term. I don't like him and don't trust him.
    He is an image created by a brilliant marketing campaign.  But he himself is hardly more than an appealing bureaucrat who was in the right place at the right time.  Brilliant politician is not the term that describes him for me.  

    I See No Vision (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:02:22 PM EST
    What vision?  What creativity and action?

    Obama is an analytical and professorial individual. Governing requires far more than that.

    Guts above all and knowing when to act.  Bold measures and vision when creative alternatives must be found to problem solve.

    And an intense personal need to reach out to the electorate on a gut level and hear their needs.

    One of FDR's most important traits was the way he communicated on a very human level. I was very young but I still remember his radio Fireside Talks and the understanding he conveyed about our problems and needs.

    Then of course he boldly and fearlessly acted with enormous creativity to lead us forward and out of the abyss.


    Sorry (3.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Upstart Crow on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:17:01 PM EST
    He's not a real academic, either. His U of Chicago credentials are very skinny, and his climb up that ladder rather mysterious.

    Somehow people feel comfortable putting him in the box of an academic.


    He was a lecturer (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:45:03 PM EST
    and senior lecturer at UC law school for 12 years--not a tenured professor, more of an adjunct, but still an academic unless you discount everybody who does not have tenure.

    Several times during his 12 years there he was invited to join the faculty as a tenured professor but declined.

    Obama is a Harvard J.D. which is a professional doctorate, and a senior lecturer is regarded as a faculty member. He is a real academic.


    Sorry again (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Upstart Crow on Sun May 30, 2010 at 05:11:34 PM EST
    I work in academia.

    He has virtually no published papers. (As I recall, his only published paper was as a junior author with HRC -- but not sure on that.)  

    He did not go through a "normal" tenure process.

    So yes, you are right, he is an "academic" -- a PhD student is an "academic," too.

    But people usually say he is an "academic" to attack or excuse him, as if he were some big-deal endowed chair professor with a zillion years at a university behind him. Usually this is an explanation of his disengagement, his aloofness, whatever.

    Sometimes people are just disengaged, aloof, whatever, because that's the way they are.


    Mysterious indeed.. (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 04:54:46 AM EST
    but only to those unaware of how the affirmative action abusing, Hillary-haters had already begun grooming Obama for his mission back then..

    I don't think it's that he lacks empathy, (5.00 / 7) (#23)
    by Anne on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:42:10 PM EST
    but that he is extremely uncomfortable with emotion.  He tries to relate to the people by reminding people that he is a father, which is why Sasha and Malia end up being part of what he says on subjects that would seem to require some level of emotion.

    And while I think it may be too early to quantify Obama as a GREAT politician, the chances of him actually earning that description are only going to improve not by being emotional about what faces us, but by becoming a much, much better problem-solver.

    His instincts are to sort of sit off to the side and watch as others go about the work of solving things; he jumps in as he believes his input is required - or expected.  He is more of a facilitator, which isn't necessarily the same thing as being a good leader.

    As sort of an aside - does anyone know where Michelle has been in the weeks since the oil spill?  Has she visited the area, or organized any efforts in the various affected communities?  I ask because I don't watch much news, and I just have not seen anything about what, if any, contribution she is making.  I also ask because I think she might be Obama's best weapon in the I-feel-your-pain department, and he could earn some empathy points just by association.

    I don't expect any president to be overly emotional; many of the decisions one has to make in that position require objectivity, and too much emotion can get in the way.  But, sometimes, one has to set aside one's fear of emotion to show the people that you do, indeed, feel their pain.  The advantage of doing so is that from a political standpoint, the people are much more likely to think the decisions you make are in their best interests.

    A GREAT politician would have some instinct for when emotion is called for, and in that regard, I think Obama has a fair way to go.

    [and squeaky, if you're reading this, please note that I neither mentioned you-know-who, nor have I made any comparisons to her, or fantasized about what she would have done in this situation.  And the reason I did none of those things is because she is not the president, and there is no point in speculating what someone else would have done.]

    I think this... (none / 0) (#32)
    by otherlisa on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:35:17 PM EST
    His instincts are to sort of sit off to the side and watch as others go about the work of solving things; he jumps in as he believes his input is required - or expected.  He is more of a facilitator, which isn't necessarily the same thing as being a good leader.
    is exactly right, and the biggest problem with Obama as a leader and a President. It's a pattern with him and we've seen it time and time again less than two years into his presidency.

    I really don't care that much about the "feel your pain" empathizing; I certainly don't care about his soaring speeches (they never soared for me anyway); I care about his ability to analyze and solve problems. I like that he listens to others. What's lacking is his ability to commit and lead.


    Stellaaa could have written this. (none / 0) (#108)
    by oculus on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:41:39 AM EST
    Anne, thanks for the thoughtful and (none / 0) (#37)
    by christinep on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:16:45 PM EST
    thought-provoking comment. The whole natural temperament aspect of leadership is fascinating as well as central in this where-do-we-go-from-here moment. Since my own preference for "leadership types" is the leadership framework of former President Clinton, it took me awhile to appreciate more fully the more deliberate style of present Presiden Obama. Then, after thinking about my own family & friends, I looked more at his process, and recalled the long ago time reading once President Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage."

    Lots of theories about leadership, of course. Sometimes the leader gets out in front (but not too far, so as not to lose those following); sometimes the leader follows (akin to the servant leader.) For me, the ideal would be a mixture of both. For now, your depiction of the facilitator (or mediator) may go to the heart of it. It "feels" to me that the President prefers the process of Socratic teaching or, perhaps, of pulling in the people and other authorities with the facts, then pulling it all together accurately in almost a judicial decision-making style. It may be, tho, that he is finding his "sea legs" (ironically, in the Gulf), understanding his own tempo and learning experientially that a public often expects their leader to take that strong step even before he/she has every "i" dotted. We may be watching him discover the confidence of the real leader.


    Anne (none / 0) (#98)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:04:34 PM EST
    It's clear you weren't meant to be a historian.

    I don'r know what this means. (none / 0) (#102)
    by Anne on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:58:54 PM EST
    I'm sorry, but your comment makes no sense to me.

    what drugs are you on BTD, (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by cpinva on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:01:50 PM EST
    and where can i get some? those must be some powerful hallucinigenics, or you've just completely taken leave of your senses. don't do any billlable hour work in your condition, you'll end up being disbarred.

    to whit:

    It so happens that President Barack Obama is a GREAT politician.

    not on this, or any other planet, known or not. certainly not in the present lifetime. pres. obama has delusions of mediotrity as a politician. perhaps, with time and tempering, he'll become a "great" politician.

    unfortunately, the rest of us haven't the luxury of waiting around for that to happen.

    From Illinois State Senate to president-elect (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:05:08 PM EST
    in eleven years (1997-2008) says great politician to me no matter whether the person also has governance skills.

    Yep (none / 0) (#50)
    by Zorba on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:21:57 PM EST
    I'm from the St. Louis and southern Illinois region originally, and have visited my relatives often.  Back when Obama was running for US Senate in Illinois, I saw an "Obama for Senate" sign in front of one of the most redneck of redneck bars, in one of the most conservative parts of Illinois (trust me on this, southern Illinois is not the Chicago area).  At that point, I knew he was going to win the Senate seat.  To come that far, that fast, bespeaks amazing political skills.  Although, as you said, it does not necessarily connote skills in governance.

    Of course that spoils (none / 0) (#53)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:58:05 PM EST
    all the Manchurian Candidate theories involving the Trilateral Commission, the CIA, Zbigniew Brezinski, etc.

    You forgot (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Zorba on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:48:02 PM EST
    the One World Government and the Illuminati.  Oh, and the black helicopters.  LOL!

    Black Helicopters? (none / 0) (#62)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:43:14 PM EST
    Gates canceled the $6.5 billion presidential helicopter program that would have bought 23 new helicopters for the president. He said an effort to replace the fleet would start anew in 2011.

    Except (none / 0) (#79)
    by jbindc on Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:35:19 AM EST
    Those same voters had the choice of Alan Keyes.  

    Not like that was a hard Senate race.  Didn't take lots of political skill to win that one.


    No, the political skill came in (none / 0) (#89)
    by Anne on Sun May 30, 2010 at 02:57:21 PM EST
    taking all the other credible candidates out, one way or the other, so that all that was left was Alan Keyes.  Slam.  Dunk.

    Whatever political skill Obama has, he uses to help himself - if it happens to have some collateral benefit to others, so much the better, but anyone who thinks he's using his political skills in the furtherance of good governance is kidding themselves.


    You sound like Jonathan Alter (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:53:31 PM EST
    last night on Bill Maher, and sorry, but I find your take a sort of B.S. too.  It isn't about Obama emoting, it is about Obama understanding the REAL problems out there.  He doesn't, he doesn't think he needs to, and even worse he doesn't think he has to and he acts like understanding such things is beneath his fine self.  And governing well is always about the human condition, and Obama does not have much of a grasp of the human condition.  I agree that he should not attempt to become Bill Clinton.  You can't grow what you don't have the seeds for.  He can't go on like this though, thinking that governing is about his image.  It is about addressing the real problems plaguing the people.  I'm 100% onboard with Cornel West's whole take on all this that he expressed last night on Real Time!  The way Obama has gone about the job of being President even cuts him off from being a visionary....which he could be if only he championed the people with his visions instead of the cool crowd of corruption he has surrounded himself in in too many areas.

    I agree with much of what you say except (1.00 / 1) (#60)
    by klassicheart on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:20:02 PM EST
    the vision part.  There is nothing...absolutely nothing in his history that suggests he has vision.  He is a political opportunist who was in the right place at the right time.  He's like some of those rock stars who answered an ad and was developed into a particular image by a puppeteer.  Obama plays the role of President.  But there is no passion and no vision and definitely no leadership.  He is a marketing phenomena and not much else.  And he didn't do it by himself.  A lot of factors came together for his election to happen.  We shouldn't forget that.  Reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger...and how too many people thought he was the character he played in movies.  

    It's the (none / 0) (#72)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 30, 2010 at 05:41:44 AM EST
    Milli Vanilli presidency.

    And you really can't (none / 0) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:06:13 PM EST
    say chit like "sometimes you think the complaints from people in LA are unfair" at a time like this, and lie about how this has been your main priority from day one, and even think you'll get a bye for that based on what you think your projected image.

    Great Comment (none / 0) (#99)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:14:00 PM EST

    Thanks. You've said it all. Or almost all.


    It's not about method acting. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by lentinel on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:30:49 PM EST
    Obama is not good at the "feeling their pain" routine because I don't think he feels anybody's pain.

    Last I saw, he was relaxing playing basketball.

    And speaking of Obama - I was appalled at his little turn at the correspondents' dinner. He made a joke out of killing people with predator drones. He seems unaware on any level of the number of innocent men, women and children who have been killed by this method.

    Additionally, imo he put his daughters out there as objects, and put the Jonas Brothers out there as potential statutory rapists.

    So, yeah. I don't think he feels much of anything.

    Where (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 30, 2010 at 05:43:58 AM EST
    do you get Obama's a great politician from? IMO, he is a poor to mediocre politician. A great politican has the entire package: empathy, leadership, vision of which Obama has none of these.

    Was thinking this morning too (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:56:52 AM EST
    How did we ever get to the Petraeus COIN strategy being front and center as well?  Through extreme experienced pain.  David Petraeus' career was supposed to have been OVER because of his insane ideas about how you treat people in war zones.  He had dog fought with colleagues who had much more power and seniority than he had, he had been promised his military career would be finished in the dumpster.  After Vietnam, America would never again get any stupid COIN notions in her head where military action is the choice being played out.  It was certain suicide.  It became the most delicious rhetoric of both the extreme right and the extreme left for years.  Then that jacka$$ Petraeus took his position that was granted him in Mosul and decided to act out new American COIN because he had the power to do it in the area of Iraq he oversaw.  Almost the whole of military leadership wanted him roasted on a spit after his command was over.  He probably would have been relieved of it ahead of schedule except for a very very few choice friends he had in high places.  A few years down the road though, the entire country of Iraq is literally on fire and we are about to lose Baghdad.  On the verge of nervous breakdowns, those with the clout got together to desperately discuss what could be done and it was brought up that ONE commander who employed a completely different strategy in the area he commanded at one time had experienced  success in ways that no other commander ever had in Iraq.  Our soldiers were dying at horrible rates, or being wounded, or having their mental wings being pulled off.....  The military was physically broken as well and nobody was signing on.  Stop Loss became its own subhell in hell.  Because of acknowledging pain, probably even experiencing pain of their own....the pain of humiliation....the political will existed across the board to override all existing rhetoric and treat people like human beings in Iraq.  Look where we are today?  Don't tell me emotions have nothing to do with good governing.  Don't even attempt to downplay with me how unimportant pain is in politics.

    I was just reading George Lakoff's (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:23:52 AM EST
    'Obama's Missing Moral Narrative', and he's still hung up on the "unifying speech" that wasn't delivered.  He brings up Obama's past "unifying" speeches from his campaign, but this isn't a campaign.  Obama has broken almost every single one of his campaign unifying promises and done so because other politicians get away with it.  Then he decided to do it in rockstar numbers it seems to me, to go along with the rockstar that he thought he was.  The only thing that will unify us on the oil disaster is the complete commitment and resolve to do all that can be done to save us.  Obama has noticed that when he makes promises in speeches now though that he doesn't deliver on, there are beginning to be uncomfortable consequences.  He isn't unifying us because he does not intend to be THAT committed or resolved to this disaster.  I suppose this is another one of those problems that he won't be able to allow to derail his earth shattering groundbreaking robust aggressive agenda that was on the schedule first.

    I can't (none / 0) (#78)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:24:12 AM EST
    believe anyone thinks that a speech is going to work yet again. The speeches never did anything for me but apparently more people are beginning to feel like me and are tired of the speeches and want action.

    showing (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by NaNaBear on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:31:32 AM EST
    I log in on Talkleft every day. I enjoy reading whats being said. Its amazing how so many people think they know how another person feels.
    My son has the same cool personality Obama has. So did my late husband. People like this do care.

    When masked gunman put a gun to my son's head and made him get in his car,  his coolness saved his life. He said his only thought was on how to get out of the situation. He watched the gunman's arm, when he saw it twitch he pushed the car door open,  which took the gunman by surprise. He took off running. My son that shows emotion said he would have ran when he first saw them, and they might have killed him.
    In crisis situations am cool/in control.  My in-laws questioned why I didn't cry at my husbands funeral. My sons told me my personality made them the men they are today. My daughters , on the other hand,  questioned  why they have never seen me cry. If they had opened my bedroom door late at night,( once they were in bed), they would have seen the silent tears running down my cheeks.
     All of them are grown now, and on their own.

    My neighbors said I was calm the night my son was shot( non-life threatning. It wasn't the right time. My son needed a calm mother. Years of being a mother and father can break you or make you strong.

    After my husbands death, I learned how to cut off the tears when my young children were awake.

    I cry silent tears( alone)  all the time for the tragic events that are taking place. Will any one see me openly cry. I doubt it. Silent tears? Maybe. It depends. They will see me openly shed tears  when something positive happens in other people's lives.
    I also cry silent tears of joy when I think about the fact that my kids (especially my daughters) are grown, gone, and have their own kids to deal with (smile)
    BTW: they are doing a great job. Not falling apart paid off.( smile)
     My faith and I beleive Obama's,  plays a big role on how we respond under pressure. I have alot of respect for those who react differently.

    Most of us have met people who come across as caring, only to find out they could care less.

    I don't think anyone wants Obama to (none / 0) (#110)
    by Anne on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:18:07 AM EST
    fall apart; that would be truly alarming.

    But, I also don't think Obama telling the media that "sometimes you think the complaints from the people of Louisiana are unfair," is a good way to telegraph his concern, mainly because it makes him appear to be more concerned about what people are thinking and saying about him, than about a situation that directly affects the people "complaining."  He did, in fact, acknowledge that he shouldn't have been looking at it that way, but the fact that he did is telling.

    As the mother of two wonderful young women, I know all about strength; one does not survive the teen years and the emotional rollercoaster they climbed onto at about age 11, by mirroring those emotions.

    But I think there's a difference between seeking the even keel because it settles the highs and lows of a teenager in the throes of hormones and independence, and seeking it because we are afraid of the emotions swirling in our presence.

    Emotion connects people in ways that pure reason does not.  And while Obama may be great in a one-on-one situation, his job is not one that allows him to have that real intimacy with individuals, so he needs, from time to time, to find ways to connect with his own emotions so that he can connect with the collective emotion of the people.

    As parents, we already have a connection with our children, and the ability to see them and connect with them in small ways every day, ways that say "I love you," or "I worry about you," or "I know you don't think it's possible, but I do know what you're going through."  Our children know us, and most of all, they know that we love them.

    Obama is not our father.  And being Malia's father and relating their exchanges doesn't help with the whole connecting-to-the-people thing.

    If he can't do empathy in a believable way, he needs to find some other way to connect.  People will give him a pass on the emotional if they see a president marshalling from all corners the people and resources needed to deal with the problem and with the effects of the problem.  I don't think they see that, and that's part of his problem - and it may be contributing to the feeling that not all that needs to be done is being done.  When you can't even tell the media why the head of MMS was fired, how detached are you?


    As someone once said (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by kmblue on Mon May 31, 2010 at 05:14:39 AM EST
    "once you learn to fake sincerity, you've got it made."

    It's called empathy (4.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:24:44 PM EST
    And without it, nothing human can prosper. If Obama lacks the ability to communicate empathy, his presideny will be that much weaker and less connective with the electorate.  

    What if it is not the communication (3.00 / 2) (#2)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:28:36 PM EST
    ability that is lacking, but the feeling of empathy? The political solutions chosen/not chosen will show with whom the empathy lies.

    Where Obama's Empathy Lies (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:31:58 PM EST
    In terms of the healthcare fiasco that the bots and Obama have declared as a great step forward, we see it's actually a  giveaway to corporate control of healthcare, and drugs will remain unattainable for years to come as seniors wait 10 years or more for the donut hole [the uncovered part of drug insurance] to close and for drug insurance to be meaningful. If ever.

    So seniors got snookered on that.

    And then women were thrown under the bus with the Nelson/Stupak assaults on RoevWade without a word from Pelosi or Obama. Thirty years of struggle for equal protection  and now left as an add on in insurance policies  [if they deem to cover it at all]. And more restrictive assaults on choice
    as Obama was MIA..

    Then we see the largest transfer of personal wealth transfered to insurnace companies who will still decide how,when, and if we are reimbursed, and who's promised how the premiums will be regulated?

    Huffington Post's article on Obama's backroom deal with Rham leading the charge to get rid of the public option and for government purchase of drugs in exchange for campaign contributions was telling. Obama worked hard to kill the option.

    This is not even new news.

    So why do we expect empathy from a cool politician with his Chicago cabal calling the
    shots? As for our national disaster in the Gulf Spill, Obama has no strategy, no competence, and no courage. He didn't even know one of his appointees [another Brownie] from Harvard who worked for dept in Interior that issued oil drilling permits was fired or quit the day of his press conference. She had no experience or knowledge in the area and was simply a political appointee, Bush style.

    Imagine. it came as a complete surprise. When were they going to tell Obama she'd been canned to give him cover because this lady knew nada about oil, oil drilling, leases, or anything else relating to her job?

    Empathy?  This is another Chicago politician. Period.


    Yes (2.33 / 6) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:36:42 PM EST
    To be expected, many of those who supported Hillary here, believe that Obama is a sociopath.

    Well (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:35:29 PM EST
    BTD isn't saying that the president has no empathy. It is just that his political acting skills, unlike Bill's, are weak when it comes to depicting empathy. That is very different from being a sociopath, incapable of feeling the pain of others.

    If the Obama were unable to empathize, he would never have gotten close to being POTUS, imo.


    Someone who lacks empathy (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:00:04 PM EST
    is not necessarily a sociopath nor the key feature of sociopathy.  I think it's dangerous to use so loosely & incorrectly words that describe serious mental disorders to caricature a comment you do not agree with or otherwise.    

    Not A Key Feature? BS (none / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:14:30 PM EST
    I disagree. It is true that lack of empathy can exist without a person moving into the category of a sociopath. But it is not true that a sociopath can have empathy.

    As for my comment being dangerous... bwaaahahahahahhaa

    Good one!


    Read the DSM definition (none / 0) (#111)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:21:14 AM EST
    the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual version IV-R

    Sorry BackFromOhio (none / 0) (#117)
    by squeaky on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:38:49 PM EST
    I do not have a copy available. But please feel free to quote it... or would that be dangerous too?

    Considering that the term "Sociopath" exists in the vernacular as opposed to the DSM, I will stick with my lay person understanding of the term of which lack of empathy is a major component.


    Try this (none / 0) (#123)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:40:30 PM EST
    By the way (none / 0) (#124)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 03:49:25 PM EST
    to the extent the linked 'definiton' of a sociopath describes lack of empathy, it does so in the context of lacking empathy for the sociopath's own victims -- a concept which is not apropos here, and, only one of 15 or so traits described.

    DSM reference (none / 0) (#125)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 04:02:54 PM EST
    Under definition of antisocial personality disorder



    DSM? (none / 0) (#126)
    by squeaky on Mon May 31, 2010 at 04:08:13 PM EST
    I have looked at many sites that describe "sociopath".

    I took issue with your pointing to the DSM which does not list sociopath as a category.

    The commonly understood definition of sociopath:

    a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

    lack of conscience equals lack of remorse equals lack of empathy.

    And the technical term, Antisocial Personality disorder which covers the vernacular term sociopaths and psychopaths, includes three characteristics:

    Persistent lying or stealing
    Apparent lack of remorse or empathy for others
    Cruelty to animals

    Not sure why you would argue that the commonly understood term sociopath describes someone who does not feel bad about the pain inflicted on others. A person lacking empathy looks on coldly as someone is tortured, for example. Not sure you want to split hairs about the word empathy. But feel free.

    You could do a pretzel maneuver and say a sociopath, empathizes with his or her victim and that is why s/he inflicts pain on them. In order to get off on their pain. Well, that is a stretch, but I am sure that you are creative enough to move this in any direction you want.


    Nonesense (none / 0) (#95)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:38:14 PM EST
    Comparing Obama to Clinton and taking shots at Clinton and you think this an argument?

    Bill Clinton communicated and we don't need your defensive and snarky analysis of Clinton to see Obama's shortcomings.

     In fact his shortcomings are glaring and it's more than empathy that's missing. It's an ear for what is going on and acting with urgency during a national emergency and tragedy.


    Really? (none / 0) (#104)
    by squeaky on Sun May 30, 2010 at 10:17:11 PM EST
    Comparing Obama to Clinton and taking shots at Clinton and you think this an argument?

    Are you having a hallucination? Pot shots at Clinton, comparing Obama to Clinton? I have never taken pot shots at any Clinton, and certainly have not compared any Clinton to Obama in this thread.

    Bill Clinton communicated and we don't need your defensive and snarky analysis of Clinton to see Obama's shortcomings.

    Maybe your browser is messed up, as I have done nothing of the sort.

    But if your browser is working correctly, you must have misread my comment, because you appear to be responding to another commenter, not sure who.


    Empathy Deficicency (none / 0) (#93)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 07:00:38 PM EST
    If you cannot communate with the people you lead, you ain't leading. You're posing.

    Obama was a fired up passionate candidate who promised to lead with fire,truth,and change, blah.

    Talking about him emulating Bill Clinton is ridiculous. We voted for Obama because he communicated [with great skill] super oratory chock full of empathy and passion.

    Well that was apparently his last shot at passion, or even feeling he owes the public his attention and caring. His press conference was an embarrassment of many words leading nowhere except to indicate that perhaps Malia should be president.

    He doesn't feel he has to do anything more 'cause he's perfect?

    I'm amazed that he's so in his bubble that he can't hear the music.


    It took 12 minutes for you (none / 0) (#101)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun May 30, 2010 at 09:02:50 PM EST
    to become the target of a personal attack, Dadler.

    heh (none / 0) (#116)
    by The Addams Family on Mon May 31, 2010 at 10:18:45 AM EST
    and elsewhere, only 2 comments for this thread to go Godwin

    new record?


    The current state of hard times makes all the diff (4.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Ellie on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:05:08 PM EST
    When the Big Dawg did it, it was during a time of record prosperity and when he, personally, was being unbelievably persecuted for stuff that didn't matter to the public at large. He came from humble roots and, regardless of whether the political/media insiders considered it to be genuine, that came off to the larger audience as empathy.

    Obama did not have humble roots; he was well-traveled and was hot-housed with every advantage.

    These continual updates on his emotions at a time when even people who do all the right things -- get educated/skilled, work hard in a brutal economy, try to have a family, own a home, start a business -- are hurting just don't play the same way. They seem more like moods suited to showcase the Obama Lifestyle­® line in this continual magazine-spread of a presidency.

    President Barack Obama was back in Chicago this evening after a day in Louisiana viewing the Gulf oil spill damage and containment efforts first-hand. [...]

    On Thursday the first family arrived for a hometown visit over the Memorial Day weekend.

    The holiday visit to Chicago is billed as a private one, with only one public appearance scheduled so far -- on Memorial Day at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. The family will return to Washington later that day.

    According to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, the first family is expected to have some Chicago-area friends over to their house sometime over the weekend. Details were not released.

    "I think he's going to want to see some friends that he has -- some he's seen and some he hasn't seen," Gibbs said to the media aboard Air Force One. "I think the family is going to have a get-together and have some friends over for dinner and just sort of be in the old neighborhood for a couple of days, and then go to -- go back to the veteran's cemetery in Will County that he visited in 2005 on Memorial Day."

    There also has been speculation the president and his family may attend the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup opener Saturday night or a performance of "The Good Negro," a play about civil rights leadership in the 1960s, at the Goodman Theatre.

    Totally agree (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by klassicheart on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:10:38 PM EST
    No more benefit of the doubt for Obama.  It is over for me in terms of his Presidency.  I know who he is....a colossal disappointment and feckless...The irony is that he has such a high opinion of himself...wholly undeserved as President...In fact, his arrogance is mind bending.  The fact that emotionally, I am beginning to detest him...concerns me...because it is a visceral dislike.  

    A little too visceral, I'd say (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by jondee on Sun May 30, 2010 at 04:21:21 PM EST
    but, this place has been a virtual Salem Village of emotional contagion since sometime in '08.

    That arrogant, narcissistic, self-absorbed man and his wife Tituba put a spell on all of us!

    Interesting how many personal characterizations -- implying prolonged, personal, intimate contact -- there are of Obama's character here..As if he were someone's double-dealing first husband or ex-boyfriend..  


    Gibbs (none / 0) (#100)
    by norris morris on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:16:27 PM EST
    Is a snarky condescending ass.

    Not good PR for the W House.

    He's really hard to watch and harder to listen to.


    He is also hard to read. (none / 0) (#107)
    by oculus on Mon May 31, 2010 at 12:40:34 AM EST
    The worst of times (3.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Sweet Sue on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:09:52 PM EST
    Obama cannot connect with the people on a deep, emotional level. No one like that can be a good President.
    I'll believe that Obama is a great politician-maybe behind the scenes-for the sake of argument and because BTD keeps saying so, but Obama has no business being President, not even in the best of times.

    Sweet Sue why (none / 0) (#28)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:06:01 PM EST
    do you say this:

    Obama has no business being President

    I Think S/S Answered That In The First Sentence (none / 0) (#44)
    by daring grace on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:15:32 PM EST
    It's her opinion that "good presidents must be able to connect on a deep etc. etc.

    Obama cannot connect with the people on a deep, emotional level. No one like that can be a good President.

    At great risk (none / 0) (#112)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:29:48 AM EST
    I point out that it may not be that Obama lacks empathy or the capacity to express it in his public appearances; instead, it may be that he does not empathize with various groups -- and the lack shows.  When he needed to show emotion in his speech about Reverend Wright, he did so; in his acceptance speech at the Convention in 2008, he showed lots of emotion.  I do think that he reacts first with his intellect and second with his emotions, and I find no fault in that. But I also think that when we see him fail to show empathy or compassion in Louisiana, after he's had much time to approach the problem first intellectual, what we may actually be seeing is that he doesn't empathize with the fishermen and others whose livelihoods have been taken away from them by the failure of BP to take proper precautions, in part with the approval of the federal government that has granted various waivers and failed to exercise its full oversight authority.

    Good governance??? (3.00 / 2) (#88)
    by Bornagaindem on Sun May 30, 2010 at 02:38:25 PM EST
    What la la land have you been living the last 17 months? Other than doling out largesse to big banks,big insurance, big pharma and the military industrial complex I haven't seen any good governance out of Mr. hopey changey. They did pass a stimulus bill that was sorely needed but it was too small- bad governance.

    Empathy as has been said again and again there is only one person whose pain he can feel and that is his own.

    Indeed, good governance is what is (none / 0) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:36:12 PM EST
    needed.  From my perspective, the president's celebrated "cool" is just what is needed; no need to conjure up feelings that are not innate to him--they would only come across as disingenuously as the red, white and blue sandbags offered up by BP.  The attribute of analytical detachment  should be deployed to make some critical judgment calls, starting with a new response team. Salazar and Allen have been found wanting. The president says that the government has been in charge from Day One, and gives the example of  making BP drill a second relief well when they only wanted to drill one--a good idea based on the Ixtoc 1 blowout, where fortunately two relief wells were drilled and it was the second one that worked.  Well, it is now reported that BP has halted drilling its second relief well, because it wants to use the BOP from the relief drilling rig for its next Plan B. Even if a postponement, time is of the essence--the earliest date of operation, if needed, is August 13. Drilling rigs are available but it seems this is a penny pinching scheme of BP.  Did the government authorize this, and why?  President Obama should pull BP off the case, hire Exxon (give them all proprietary data) and bill BP--how much productive time will be lost?   Of course, the containment and clean-up should long ago have been nationalized--with Al Gore at the helm. Now, that would, to me, show that he, in his way, feels our pain.

    Good governance (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by christinep on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:33:42 PM EST
    The calm, cool approach to facts--for which President Obama is noted--is certainly what is called for in these complex dilemmas. As to who was wanting or lacking in the matter of off-shore drilling in general and BP's Deepwater in particular, I believe that the evidence to which we are privy thus far, shows that almost all politicians, oil companies, and the involved government organizations were "wanting" to different degrees. The specifics will come out in time via the detailed investigations that follow such catastrophes.
    Unlike you, KeysDan, I do not lay it at the feet of the immediate Secretary of the Interior or the Coast Guard. We will have our pound-of-flesh legally and equitably. But, I'm not rushing to judgment about the Cabinet role just yet. If BP was dishonest or misleading to government officials from the get-go, the real issue may well be: At what point should the government officials charged with coordinating the clean-up response have elevated government pressures via-a-vis BP?
    Admittedly, my private first reaction was "Obama needs to DO SOMETHING." I almost made myself laugh because that need for quick do-somethings may have led us all to get a bit lax on the movement to opening up more drilling in the first place. Most people--including the human beings at all levels and in all locations of government--were more than accepting of the push for drilling as expressed by the McCain-Palin team in 2008. That doesn't morally or otherwise exculpate any government official (as we are talking about degress of culpability.) It is here that the President can excel by approach and temperament. That is, after the high emotions settle somewhat, the President's methodical, organized, focus forward can at once bring the composure and reason we need to move responsibly to resolution. Clean-up resolution and energy policy (aka off-shore drilling component) resolution.

    Being the ever optimist, I think that the environmental community has every reason to look forward to this administration's future course re: energy development. Before this "back burner" matter became a conflagration, the President's attention necessarily was consumed with the economy and jobs, health care, finance reform, significant social issues--as the public wanted in every measure of attitudes taken. That has changed. It is not flippant to recall how a cold warrior like Nixon became the one to open up foreign policy with China or how President Clinton first established the emotive and real connection with America at the memorial following the Oklahoma City bombing. Life, political life, hands out these moments...and, the "politicians" who grasp them are not quite the same again. My take: President Obama and his Administration, in one of these moments, have been handed an opportunity--along with the challenge--to direct a green energy policy with America's blessing. It is an opportunity for which this President's calm, methodical, and balancing talents are well suited.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:44:05 PM EST
    Calm and cool is good for a president - from the get go and when he's speaking with authority from the WH. But if you go down to talk to people who are affected by a tragedy, where the tragedy happened (or is happening) you should be able to show empathy.  The abilities are not mutually exclusive in people.

    I didn't see any of the coverage of Obama in the gulf, so I don't personally know how he came off, but from coverage, it seems he came off as BTD said.  Maybe it isn't Obama's strong suit, but I'm sure he does care very much, so his staff should know better how to stage him.  


    The choice of area the Prez (none / 0) (#113)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:37:01 AM EST
    visited is telling -- the area where BP is staging and sending in more people for the purpose of making it appear on camera that the company is putting more effort behind the response effort than it actually is.  Someone -- it may have been Carville -- urged the Prez to go to other areas where he could see first hand the devastation of sea life, tourism, and the fishermen and hoteliers whose livelihood has been cut out from under them, but the Prez's staff chose to send him to the BP staging area.

    Optimistic For Sure (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:41:57 PM EST
    a green energy policy with America's blessing.

    As long as it is cheaper, and doesn't require any sacrifices.. lol

    I am pessimistic, as people do not usually support measures that cause immediate pain, for the sake of the sake of the future.

    Immediate gain, for the sake of the future, as in crazy killing machines, that appears to be ok.

    I do not think that conservation measures, or sacrifice, will ever be popular, despite this catastrophe and others.


    Yes, conservation measures cost (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by christinep on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:04:58 PM EST
    --but maybe not as much as BP cost us. Yet, squeaky, my optimism here rises from the practical realization that it will be a looooooong while before the Republicans start up the "drill, baby, drill" chant. It may be that the BIG changes won't necessarily follow right away (for the reason you mentioned), but I expect additional environmental regulatory controls for oil-drilling in general would satisfy the public's psyche at this post-BP point. Lets get those legislative and regulatory changes, and press forward.

    I See (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:12:40 PM EST
    Maybe after another two or three months when the unabated spill starts to surround Florida, Texas, and move up the Atlantic coast line...

    But at this point the mantra drill baby drill coupled with blaming Gov regulation for all our ills, seems to be the current GOP theme.

    Hopefully they will continue this idiotic platform, right up to the Nov. elections.


    Yes, this eruption is not over (none / 0) (#21)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:24:53 PM EST
    The pain has just begun. At this point I think most want a competent president and government team more than some emotional display.

    Hell, it could be that pretty soon all the gulf will be good for is for drilling - all other life and activity driven off for ? years/generations. It is one reason that in dealing with a disaster the worse case scenarios need to be considered. It is a time for bed wetting and if you've ever watched an administrator of any institution handle a disaster well or poorly you'd know just what I mean.

    We are at the first responder phase of this disaster. It is not a political game or a political phase. Yes, of course a politician can benefit politically by showing leadership during a crisis, but the leadership is more of a competent handling of the situation than properly staged photo op emotions and sound bites.

    I'm not saying it is easy, and in fact it is NOT an easy problem.


    Never A Time For Bedwetting, IMO (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:38:25 PM EST
    Bedwetters are dominated by fear and the epitome of a passive audience. They immediately consent to anything that their big strong paternal figure offers them, without any thought or consideration as to whether or not it will effectively allay their fears.

    Best to stay informed, keep active, and support measures that will sensibly regulate the industry, and to support clean energy.


    Sorry don't agree (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:03:55 PM EST
    Fear has its place. It is useful in fully exploring worst case scenarios which should be done --yesterday. Or at least NOW. Not considering negative possibilities creates big problems. (and I use the word bedwetters like it has been used commonly - not interested in DailyKos name calling)

    From Herbert's article:

    "Where I was wrong," said President Obama at his press conference on Thursday, "was in my belief that the oil companies had their act together when it came to worst-case scenarios."

    And where we are wrong is to have faith and belief that Obama even has a realistic view of a global multi-billion dollar oil corporation. And that is not even near considering worst-case scenarios


    agree (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by klassicheart on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:28:43 PM EST
    Too many people have imagined Obama to possess leadership, competence, etc.  But never have we had any factual support for such belief.  His current actions demonstrate the opposite of competence, etc.
    He has been imbued with qualities he just doesn't have.  Bill Clinton was competent.  If Obama keeps up his bureaucrat act, the Democratic party will suffer irreparable damage. But as far as I'm concerned, it serves them right. I don't know what comes next...but when James Carville starts attacking Obama...publicly and passionately...you know something has really gone wrong...and this is just he beginning.

    Please (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:20:23 PM EST
    Fear response, when it is active, often can translate into a positive act and appropriate response to a stimuli.

    Fear when is promotes passivity (fearmongering) is the preferred tool of fascists. That type of fear is what bedwetting is, and it is very negative. The progressive action would be to be called out that type of fear and fearmongering whenever it happens.


    I agree: learning command of one's personal space (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Ellie on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:20:32 PM EST
    ... means being aware of all of one's resources (emotional, mental, spiritual, physical) and responses, and tempering them to serve the person rather than rule him/her.

    I don't accept the idea that someone with a stoic or cool exterior "obviously" lacks emotion.

    What I don't like about Obama's way of doing things is that he'll facilitate [eg, a massive corporate bailout], and then shortly afterwards, express anger with corporate greed ... that he recently rewarded and encouraged.


    Whatever Squeaky (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:33:24 PM EST
    Not interested in deconstructing the word "fear". "Fight or Flight" sure, but fear can also lead to focused action. We rule our fear - we USE it, not deny it. Once again, I'm afraid we are saying the same thing.

    Your Use of "Bedwetter", Not Fear (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:41:37 PM EST
    Was the part I wanted to clarify, I provided you a link. I did not agree with the way you used the term, as it has a commonly understood meaning in the left blogosphere, and apparently opposite to the meaning you intended.

    Super bad (none / 0) (#63)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:53:07 PM EST
    OK I'm going to blow this comment. I wouldn't if any of my personal kids were around at the moment for queries. But OK meanings get contextualized and I'm not the goddess of all contexts. So I'll watch out for any of my rad sweet bad (need to get my 14year old nephew in on this) lefty art friends using Bedwetting and I'll KNOW what they mean. Its a suggestive phrase....hmmmm. art project?

    Oh, and I'm glad to hear (2.33 / 3) (#27)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:05:44 PM EST
    that you and your uber wealthy friends and contacts are actually going green and working hard to expand energy sources.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:23:23 PM EST
    Is that supposed to be some sort of personal attack? If so you are presuming quite a bit and expressing a fantasy that has much to do with you, and little to do with me.

    I believe emergencies require emergency (none / 0) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:21:11 PM EST
    responses, and, generally, whether in an E.R. or a catastrophic disaster, a calm, level-headed demeanor beats an emotional response. President Obama seems equipped for emergency management, but temperament without expertise and decisive  action is not productive.  A Commission Report in six months may result in a clearer picture of the Gulf blowout along with some sensible recommendations, which, if we are really, really lucky one or two will be adopted. (any bets on requiring relief wells to be drilled at the same time as the main well?)  Emergency judgments require making a decision often on the basis of inadequate information.  In this case, after 40 days, a long string of information has unspooled showing that the response (both to stop the blow and to manage the spill) is not up to the task. Salazar is Sec of Interior for this administration and Admiral Allen is the president's appointed incident point-man.  Surely, it was not all Ms. Birnbaum's culpability.  Looking for a pound of flesh is not the objective.

    ER (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:35:45 PM EST
    When someone has a heart attack ER can save their life. Seems to me, that this problem has no apparent solution as of yet.

    Really, the cover up of the Exxon Valdez is one thing. Exxon lost a set amount of oil, and wanted abdicate their responsibility in order to save $$ on the cleanup, and liability. That was criminal.

    In this case BP is losing somewhere around $5,250,000 (70,000 barrels/day @ $75/barrel. And that does not include the daily increase in clean up costs.

    It seems to me that BP as well as Obama would have it in their interest, big time, to stop this disaster. Unfortunately the solution does not seem readily at hand.

    Of course the culpability of BP and government regulators is enormous, regarding the greed apparent in cutting corners on safety measures, oversight and researching "what if" scenarios.


    Well, as President Obama (none / 0) (#41)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:41:24 PM EST
    said in his press conference, BP and the public's interests may be aligned to the extent of getting the wellhead capped, but BP is interested in minimizing the damages. Moreover, he said that BP's interests and the publics are not aligned on going forward, and cited that the administration had to push to get videos of the gusher released. The president said he fell short and would now verify, but part of that shortness was the quality of the personnel.  I would add that not all emergency procedures are created equal and yield the same results be that response to  a heart attack or a spill.  Sometimes another, independent opinion, is helpful.  And, if the personnel are not up to it, find others.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 04:50:46 PM EST
    I am sure that we will see a redux of the Exxon/Valdez fiasco, when it comes to coughing up the dough for cleanup.

    But as frustrated as we all are, particularly those like you who are personally affected, there is no solution as of yet to stop this leak.

    This incident is pretty unique as far as I have read, given the depth and volume of gush. So much so, that scientists are studying it as they have had no "laboratory" like it, ever.

    One strange thing I just saw said that the tar balls showing up near you are not from the deepwater leak. Not that that makes anything better.


    There are proposed solutions (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by ZtoA on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:15:47 PM EST
    to stop this eruption, and they are being worked thru. TopKill didn't work, and it was really only given a 60% chance at best. Now they'll try the next fix. Then something else, then the relief wells (they really NEED to continue drilling both wells!) will come into play. The goal of BP is to preserve oil and equipment. US government needs to set the goals. There are other ongoing issues besides just plugging the gd hole - like how the oil is dispersed, diverted, collected.

    And BP is NOT being transparent. Hey, really, they are a for profit oil corporation. What do they care about giving accurate timely information to some citizens of some country? Accurate information is critical.


    Analogous Leak (none / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:41:40 PM EST
    Took 10 months to cap. It was at 160 feet below the surface the water as opposed to 5000 feet. and was more than likely no leaking as much, as far have gathered. Ixtoc I oil well:

    In the next nine months, experts and divers including Red Adair were brought in to contain and cap the oil well.[6] An average of approximately ten thousand to thirty thousand barrels per day were discharged into the Gulf until it was finally capped on 23 March 1980, nearly 10 months later.

    Sure hope that they figure out how to stop this sooner than 10 months.

    Initial cost estimates to the fishing industry were $2.5 billion, while the impact on tourism along Florida's Paradise Coast could be $3 billion.[176]
    On May 25, BP reported that its own expenditures on the oil spill had reached $760 million, a figure that excludes claims from fishermen and other affected industries.[188] The price tag for the spill was rising by at least $10 million a day.[


    $9,260,000,000 for 10 months, and that is a low estimate for sure.


    BP has in fact openly (none / 0) (#114)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:47:52 AM EST
    defied the order of the EPA to use a less toxic dispersant.  And no one in the government or media seems to be taking action to begin demanding that BP follow governmental orders. To me this is astounding.  In addition, there is a provision in one of the federal environmental laws that permits civil fines equal to over $4,000 per gallon of oil spewing into the gulf.  Will we use this?

    One more point -- when anyone restarts the call for drilling the waterways, we should point out that the oil extracted from the Gulf does not go to the U.S.


    Thanks, those tar balls (none / 0) (#51)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:31:46 PM EST
    have been quite the topic down here. Some of the old salts say that tar balls have been showing up from time to time for years.  Boats, and particularly, cruise ships are prime candidates, but some oil just seeps  up from the sea floor.  As you might guess, however, there is much skepticism and cynicism about anything to do with BP and even the Coast Guard, especially the high command.   A sad turn of events on the Coast Guard since there is a Coast Guard station, with training programs, in Key West and have always held them in the highest regard.

    Sad (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by squeaky on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:51:07 PM EST
     A sad turn of events on the Coast Guard since there is a Coast Guard station, with training programs, in Key West and have always held them in the highest regard.

    When a place like key west turns on the Coast Guard, not pretty. The level of frustration must be incredibly high as you await a monster, so to speak.

    Oy, Key West, the other keys, and the everglades are national treasures, imo. Spent a fair amount of time down there... sad, very sad.


    You are a good person, Squeaky. (none / 0) (#56)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 29, 2010 at 07:25:16 PM EST
    Well does anybody even pay attention (none / 0) (#12)
    by The Addams Family on Sat May 29, 2010 at 01:34:43 PM EST
    to Charles Blow? Bob Herbert's column in yesterday's NY Times is one to read.

    Maybe being a GREAT poitician... (none / 0) (#18)
    by EL seattle on Sat May 29, 2010 at 02:06:26 PM EST
    ...is only part of the job for even being a successsful president over the long term.  Passion and empathy and other attributes are probably needed too, in the presidential role.

    Sometimes it seems to me that Obama is like the greatest Offensive Coordinator ever, who becomes a Head Coach... but the team's performace and winning percentage doesn't automatically raise to the next level, despite everyone's hopes and best wishes.

    Obama's Empathy Deficit (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by norris morris on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:12:33 PM EST
    Why is it so difficult to feel that we are entitled to a responsive Leader?

    Obama  has been evaluated by many of us as a diffident, rather detached person. Sure he's smart. But  that was just one of the reasons I voted for him.

    As far as change, I've seen little, but in the light of this national disaster I have been appalled at the level of distance Obama sought from day one.

    Of course, Obama didn't want to own this as it wasn't his doing.  But as president it certainly was crucial that he own it quickly, and assuage our fears and horror about the gulf disaster.

    Obama was late to advise us of what the government
    was doing and if pressure was put on BP who seemed to be running the show. But we've  not been dealt with candidly.

    And Obama doesn't get it that some of us are upset? And that it's vital we know an emotionally engaged president is on the case?  We expect imagination, courage, transparency, and a fully  engaged grown up to address this situation. Obama has been MIA.

    We are two months into this tragedy, and Obama had to be prodded to show up. Malia? None of us think this is a good cover story as Obama's message inherent in the telling is that "daddy cannot do this. He can't plug up the hole". Therefore our president is impotent in the face of a national disaster requiring emergency response?

    Yet we actually do need a president who feels he will commit everything at his disposal to create a  task force of experts who will solve this disaster, work hard to do it, and provide us with information.

    Has Obama felt our pain?  No. So far BP seems to be running us to the ground and calling the shots.  Some of the passion Obama showed us to get himself elected needs to be engaged in his duties as our leader. The White House messaging has been a bust.  

    Dept. of Interior has been approving more drilling,  and Obama assured us a few weeks ago that continued drilling was ok?

    We deserve bettter.


    THe Department of Interior (none / 0) (#115)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon May 31, 2010 at 09:51:06 AM EST
    under this Admin has been granting various waivers to BP; the Prez cannot entirely distance himself.

    Deep water? (none / 0) (#34)
    by robotalk on Sat May 29, 2010 at 03:41:41 PM EST
    Deep black water?

    Deep sh*t?

    Far right & the left (none / 0) (#129)
    by NaNaBear on Mon May 31, 2010 at 11:31:46 PM EST
    I give Obama credit for getting the right and some on the left to agree on their negative opinions of him.(smile)

    I also give most of his suppoters credit for giving both Clintons thumbs up.
    The election is over, people moved on. Most are giving Hillary credit for the job she is doing.

    I have always supported Bill/Hillary Clinton. This doesn't mean am not aware of occasions in which he didn't seem to care who he was hurting. I  could name some, but it wouldn't be fair.  

    I also refuse to make him out to be a more caring person than Obama based on the way they express themselves. I also want say Obama is a opportunist and Clinton isn't.  
    There are those that will say the same about both.   His supporters will go into a frenzy, but think its foolish when Obama supporters take up for him.
    People claimed Obama supporters think he can do no wrong. The same can be said about Clinton supporters.  
    I stick by the fact that being cool, doesn't mean you don't care. I base this on more than my relationship with my family.

    I along with other Obama supporters don't have a problem disagreeing with him.

    Its has become obvious that Obama is going to be bashed my some no matter what he does.
     Some can read his mind and know how he feels.  AMAZING. So is the negativity.