Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obama: A Stellar Performance

Did you catch any of the broadcasts of Obama at that gathering of Republican congressional representatives yesterday? It was a masterful performance. One hundred and forty of them, many with distinctly hostile questions about his policy and his handling of the Presidency, and he took them all on with extraordinary grace, ease, and good humor. For two full hours. Above all, he demonstrated an amazing grasp of the issues, often much broader and deeper than his questioners. So much, too, for those who have scoffed at his use of the teleprompter. Here, he spoke extemporaneously, without notes; he answered the questions that were asked, often turning the barb around on the questioner--though always without malice. He seemed entirely at ease, presidential, in command of the situation. In front of him, in the audience, his questioners seemed small, petty, inconsequential.

I heard that the Republicans regretted their decision to allow a live broadcast of the session. They must have expected to score points. They did not. I wish it had been required watching for every independent voter who has started to lose faith in the man they were responsible for electing. This session made clear that the problem is not with their choice, but rather with a political climate and a law-making system that allow his leadership to be hobbled by those with poisonous political agendas but no ethical perspective on the obligations of government. One man alone cannot do what's needed to be done in this country, not even a man with presidential powers.

In case you missed it, I invite you to go back to Gary's excellent comment on Thursday's entry in The Buddha Diaries. He says is all, loud and clear, upper case! Have a good weekend!


mandt said...

Still, brilliant oratory and retort are not the same as the actuality of greatness and affect. Obama seems mired in the lofty idealism of academic rhetoric, but totally disconnected from the sweat and tears of transformative democratic policy. But then, considering he is a conservative corporatist and dealing with what to all appearances seem to be talking-point morons---no wonder.

TaraDharma said...

dang, I missed it! perhaps I can find it on the internet?

robin andrea said...

He did an impressively good job. I wish we could see him do that at least once a month. That format illuminated the difference between politics and governance. We've had too many years of pure politics, and no real governance. It's why we are failing as a nation.

Gary said...

A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn should be read by all of us just now. I'll bet Obama read it.

How does one govern a frozen lake of obstructionist fish to progress towards a health care bill?

If the core values of the GOP are directed by Glenn Beck placas and marginalized by witless neo cons amongst the DEMs then the only way forward with health care will be to work it out Paul Ryan resulting in a beginning bill that would evolve over time.

Watch a cat fall unexpectedly and land with remarkable grace. It is instinct and evolution that guides the cat. Obama has this instinct but the place he lands is often muddy so some get mud on their face. It is because they are too busy waiting to pounce on him that this occurs.

johanna said...

Thank you, Peter for your wonderful summery of our day in Riverside.

mala said...

I think he is better than expected. There is still a long way to go before we judge him too soon.