Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Time to Ask: Does Obama Have the Guts to Play Hardball?

Posted by Will Moredock on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:18 AM

As everyone performs postmortems on the recent elections, political analyst William Greider asks the question on many of our minds: Does President Obama have the guts to play hardball? The White House is no place for a community organizer, or a law professor or even a policy analyst. It's time for Obama to step up on the mound and start slinging hardballs. He's certainly been hit by enough of them.

See the whole AlterNet story at http://www.alternet.org/news/148850

Given the election results, the question Barack Obama has to decide for himself is whether he really wants to be president in the fullest sense. Not a moderator for earnest policy discussions. Not the national cheerleader for hope. Not the worthy visionary describing a distant future. Those qualities are elements in any successful presidency, and Obama applies them with admirable skill and seriousness.

What's missing with this president is power — a strong grasp of the powers he possesses and the willingness to govern the country with them. During the past two years, this missing quality has been consistently obvious in his rhetoric and substantive policy positions. There is a cloying Boy Scout quality in his style of leadership — the troop leader urging boys to work together on their merit badges — and none of the pigheaded stubbornness of his "I am the decider" predecessor, nor the hard steel of Lyndon Johnson or the guile of Richard Nixon....


Republicans, who are masters of deceptive marketing, seized on Obama's most appealing qualities and turned them upside down. Their propaganda cast him not as soft but as a power-mad (black) leftist, destroying democracy with socialist schemes. The portrait was so ludicrous and mendacious, the president's party hardly bothered to respond. Egged on by the Republican Party and Fox News, right-wing frothers conjured sicko fantasies and extreme accusations: the president is not only a black man (bad enough for the party of the white South); he is not even American. The vindictive GOP strategy is racial McCarthyism, demonizing this honorable man as an alien threat, just as cold war Republicans depicted left-liberal Democrats as commie sympathizers....

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