Friday, March 13, 2009

Character or Charisma?

Eight years ago, newly elected George W. Bush was working hard to set a "new tone" in Washington, D. C. He ignored the abuses of the departing administration, refusing to investigate the destruction of government property (the juvenile prank of removing the "W" key from computer keyboards) or outright theft (rumors were widely reported that the Clinton home strongly resembled their former White House quarters). He chose to try to act like an adult in comparison. This strategy was (in my Humble opinion) a dismal failure. Failing to hold government employees, elected officials, and appointed officials to the standards set in law, set a "new tone" all right. It said the GOP was weak, blind, incompetent, and ineffective.

George Bush tried to show some character. His intentions are laudable, though his methods were misguided. He "misunderestimated" the political machinations of the opposition, their stranglehold over the majority of the mainstream media, and the frustrations of his constituents. His party paid the price. They lost the Senate majority in the next election, and the House majority the election after that. Demonstrating character doesn't accomplish squat in a hostile media environment.

Within the same time frame, his successor, President Barak Hussein Obama, has ordered the closure of Gitmo, tossed out the ban on government funded fetal tissue research, started "investigating" the previous administration's every action, changed the standard of diplomacy towards the U.K. to "barely tolerated" and "treat like crap", and used his office to attack those who state opposition to his wildly unproven attempts to stimulate the economy. Robert Gibbs, his press secretary, and Rahm Emmanuel, his chief of staff, delight in digging at conservative talk radio hosts. There is little or no attempt at maintaining decorum. The Office of the President has no remaining dignity. This is Chicago politics in action! Attack your opponents in any way you can! While the media loves you, you are always right!

President Obama has charisma, that is undeniable. He charmed a nation into forgetting that he had almost no national-level political experience, and NO executive experience. He played on the emotions of the populace, playing race and personality cards expertly. Every attack on his politics became "racial". Every skeleton that came out of his closet became an attack on whoever opened that door. "That's just campaigning," we all thought. After the election, things would be different. After all, Obama ran on a "change" platform.

Perhaps President Obama will come to realize that charisma and character are not mutually exclusive, that having attained the office of President, it is no longer necessary to use Chicago-style political bullying to accomplish his agenda.

I'm not holding my breath.

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