Sunday, February 1, 2009

Acting vs Being President

I read an article on Huffington Post the other day that just really got my goat. I'd love to say something a bit stronger, but I don't like to swear.

Think Progress provided this little gem about Andrew Card's response to the working informality of President Obama's administration in the NY Times Article:

CARD: I found that Ronald Reagan and both President Bushes treated the Oval Office with tremendous respect. They treated the Office of the Presidency with tremendous respect. And some of that respect was reflected in how they expected people to behave, how they expected them to dress when they walked into the symbol of freedom for the world, the Oval Office. And yes, I’m disappointed to see the casual, laissez faire, short sleeves, no shirt and tie, no jacket, kind of locker room experience that seems to be taking place in this White House and the Oval Office.
Seriously??? Because President Obama will take off his suit jacket to actually do work in the Oval Office, Andrew Card thinks it creates a locker-room experience??

Because if anyone created that locker-room experience it was President Bush, with his ridiculous habit of calling people by their nicknames! Why? Because he couldn't be bothered to respect that individual by remembering or calling them by their true name. What was up with him calling reporters like David Gregory, "Stretch", or Michael Brown that incompetent FEMA director, "Brownie". It always reminded me of some coach saying "You can do it slugger".

If nothing else, this seriously underscored the disillusionment of the Bush Presidency. Here is the difference between the two men:

If Mr. Obama’s clock is looser than Mr. Bush’s, so too are his sartorial standards. Over the weekend, Mr. Obama’s first in office, his aides did not quite know how to dress. Some showed up in the West Wing in jeans (another no-no under Mr. Bush), some in coats and ties.

So the president issued an informal edict for “business casual” on weekends — and set his own example. He showed up Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Workers from the Bush White House are shocked.

“I’ll never forget going to work on a Saturday morning, getting called down to the Oval Office because there was something he was mad about,” said Dan Bartlett, who was counselor to Mr. Bush. “I had on khakis and a buttoned-down shirt, and I had to stand by the door and get chewed out for about 15 minutes. He wouldn’t even let me cross the threshold.”

In a nutshell: President Bush just PLAYED at being President, while President Obama is a President.

President Bush just liked the pomp and circumstance, taking pride in his silly Presidential Rug in the Oval Office, the special feeling of flying around in Air Force One, and the "Hail to the Chief" playing in his footsteps. He would never admit to making a mistake, because he felt that would make him look weak.

President Obama, however, is more concerned about actually DOING something to make a difference. Setting the tone, communicating to the American Public what's at stake, and what's being done, setting the goals and priorities to his Administration. Because that's what a PRESIDENT DOES! He doesn't feel the need to own all the ideas, he will admit that he will make mistakes - who doesn't? Most of all, he is willing to hear opposing views and criticism.

Another example showcasing the difference between the two Presidents:

In the West Wing, Mr. Obama is a bit of a wanderer. When Mr. Bush wanted to see a member of his staff, the aide was summoned to the Oval Office. But Mr. Obama tends to roam the halls; one day last week, he turned up in the office of his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, who was in the unfortunate position of having his feet up on the desk when the boss walked in.

“Wow, Gibbs,” the press secretary recalls the president saying. “Just got here and you already have your feet up.” Mr. Gibbs scrambled to stand up, surprising Mr. Obama, who is not yet accustomed to having people rise when he enters a room.
This example of the two types of leadership isn't just limited to the Office of the President, Everyone in any field or job knows what I am talking about. The boss who only pays attention to superficial matters, like what time you get in, as opposed to what you actually accomplish. The manager who expects everyone to fawn over them, despite the fact that they are incompetent. The ones who expect you to do all the work in getting ready for the big presentation, and then take all the credit. Even in the military you have some officers who are complete idiots, and who care about looking like a leader, as opposed to actually being a leader.

But it's not just jobs, it's also in some Churches. You have some churches who disapprove of how people are dressed for service. I always think it's nicer to dress to go to church, but I guarantee that God doesn't care whether you wear jeans or whether you wear a designer suit, he would just rather you show up to spend time with him, to hear his word, and sing about his blessings!

This is a small thing, and I am sure that President Obama could care less what Andrew Card and his ilk have to say about whether or not he wears a suit jacket in the Oval office.

But when I read this comment, it just got me totally steamed about the principle - that the Bush Administration NEVER GOT IT. It's not about the superificial things that matter, it's about the substance - the blatant disrespect of the the US Constitution, the secrecy, the incompetent managing of the economy, the Wars that were bungled, and the lives that were lost.

The fact that they don't speak to that, but just stupid, superifical things about what to wear in the Oval Office is what makes me so angry. I mean how STUPID are these guys? They totally don't get it, and they never will.

Part of what drives success is a clear willingness to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses. According to these guys, they never did anything wrong. This continued lack of self-awareness will be the reason why the Republican Party will be wandering in the wilderness for generations to come. They only have bloviating idiots like Rush Limbaugh to lead them.

They have no solution, no ideas, no message, and no self-awareness of exactly what's wrong with their party.

The only danger to the Democrats is if they fall victim to the same trap! They too need to be cognizant of what is required, and really understand the mood of the American People. If they lose that, then the leadership is their's to lose.
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