Frank Rich, Obama and Leadership

Wow. If Prez O loses Frank Rich, the liberal NYT pundit, can the country be far behind? Two years ago I didn’t figure that anyone — Republican, Democrat or whatever — could challenge Obama in a run for the White House in 2012.

I’m not so sure today. Why?

We need leadership from the Oval Office — and that sure is in short supply these days. Consider Frank Rich’s NYT Op-Ed Sunday morning, “All the President’s Captors.” My take on his viewpoint: Obama is now so intent on placating the Republicans that he has forfeited the opportunity to lead.

Here’s an excerpt from the Op-Ed:

The captors will win this battle, if they haven’t already by the time you read this, because Obama has seemingly surrendered his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think. That pay freeze made as little sense intellectually as it did politically. It will save the government a scant $5 billion over two years and will actually cost the recovery at least as much, since much of that $5 billion would have been spent on goods and services by federal workers with an average yearly income of $75,000. By contrast, the extension of the Bush tax cuts to the $250,000-plus income bracket will add $80 billion to the deficit in two years, much of which will just be banked by the wealthier beneficiaries.

And more:

The cliché criticisms of Obama are (from the left) that he is a naïve centrist, not the audacious liberal that Democrats thought they were getting, and (from the right) that he is a socialist out to impose government on every corner of American life. But the real problem is that he’s so indistinct no one across the entire political spectrum knows who he is. A chief executive who repeatedly presents himself as a conciliator, forever searching for the “good side” of all adversaries and convening summits, in the end comes across as weightless, if not AWOL. A Rorschach test may make for a fine presidential candidate — when everyone projects their hopes on the guy. But it doesn’t work in the Oval Office: These days everyone is projecting their fears on Obama instead.

I voted for Obama. I didn’t agree with everything that he stood for as a candidate. And I certainly don’t now. But I had this notion that after the debacle of the Bush years Obama would bring to the national political stage a spirit of civility, openness and leadership.

Next time around I’m going to try to figure out who is going to be the best leader — not just the best candidate.





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