October 7, 2012

Barack Obama: The Unhappy Warrior

The "Happy Warrior" was the nickname Franklin D. Roosevelt used to nominate Al Smith for president in 1924 and 1928, though it takes no great leap of imagination to apply it to Roosevelt as well... and to Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.

In fact, you could attach the moniker to many effective politicians who truly enjoy the political wars. Joe Biden, Hubert Humphrey and "Tip" O'Neil spring to mind. But it's harder to think of many happy Republican politicians these days. Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt could never have been nominated by the angry, mean-spirited people who have taken over today's Republican Party.

Mitt Romney came across better in last week's presidential debate than he has so far in this interminable campaign for a key reason -- he tried to act like a "Happy Warrior." I don't believe it comes naturally to him. But then I never thought playing a Tea Party Republican came naturally to him, either.

Barack Obama, however, demonstrated his most serious flaw as a politician and a president on Wednesday night. When I was an enthusiastic (and generous) Obama supporter four years ago, I never would have thought someone so smart and articulate would end up becoming the worst president since Jimmy Carter when it comes to making effective use of the incumbent's "bully pulpit," as Happy Warrior Teddy Roosevelt called it. Obama has let the ultra-conservatives dominate the media with their promises NEVER to raise taxes -- promises they haven't begun to explain realistically, using simple arithmetic, as Clinton deftly pointed out at the convention in Charlotte. Obama has failed to rebut the Republicans' nutty idea.

Perhaps more importantly, President Obama doesn't like engaging in the hand-to-hand combat or the wheeling-and-dealing necessary to get legislation through Congress. He doesn't seem to like most politicians and, as a consequence, they don't like him.  He treasures his family and close friends, and that appears to be enough for him.

Before my liberal friends jump all over me, let me confirm: I know it's essential that Obama win this election. I just wish I could be a happier warrior on his behalf.

But now I need to get ready for a house-warming party my granddaughter Emily is throwing in Baltimore this afternoon. A happy event that I hope will be enhanced by a Redskins victory.

Thank God there's lots of life to love and enjoy apart from our unhappy politics. Tea Party warriors, take note and get a life..

2 comments:

Linda Fernandez said...

Your remarks are well conceived and well put. Agree 100%.

JoAnne said...

John,
I'm a legionnaire, but I agree with you. I've done a few day of volunteering for Obama, have given money and plan to participate in Voter Protection at some precinct in VA, because, like you, I think it is vital that he be reelected and that the monsters lose, but enthusiasm? only of the defensive kind.

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