The President being presidential

I’m listening to an Obama press conference. It’s been going on for a while and he’s answering a lot of questions.

He sounds like the man who ran for office in ’08. Clear, detailed answers. Solid explanations of how the economy works – at home and around the world. Utterly different from the usual sputtering defensive stance.

If the American people heard more like this, we’d be in a whole different place.

UPDATE: Just checking out Balloon Juice and they seemed to like it too. Plus they have links to vid and transcript.

ETA: Presser concluded. From this day forward, October 8th shall be known as National Pony Day in honor of President Obama’s stellar performance. Well, I’ll observe NPD, anyway. It was a tonic for any liberal who longed to see the Tea Party loons get kicked in the junk repeatedly. I’ll post a video and transcript when I can find one.

ETA: Transcript and video via WaPo here. Watch it and rejoice!

23 responses to “The President being presidential

  1. Make up your mind, Moe. Does he sound presidential or does he sound like the character that ran for office in ’08? It can’t work both ways.


  2. My husband and I thought the same thing! The Boehner speech that afternoon? Canned words. Leftovers, at that.


  3. …from twitter…..

    The Caucus ‏@thecaucus 9h
    President Obama: “We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Democracy doesn’t function this way.”


  4. That’s Strong enough for me……


  5. maggieannthoeni

    I’d like to think you may be right – that Obama’s orientation is clear, is solidly ‘people and earth care centered’, and lines up with principles of justice.

    But several critical policy developments are immediately in the works that remain ‘proof in pudding’ matters, (IMO). Two of these are his willingness to bargain off Social Security (or standing strong against same); and his ‘wish’ (we’re told) to get the utterly anti-democratic and utterly disastrous TPP agreement in place by end of year.

    IMO, this man, (and his new side-kick Kerry), need constant bird-dogging – constant, unambiguous, reminders of pro-democratic, pro-people, pro-earth, anti-corporatist, anti-militarist, non “American exceptionalism” possibilities.

    That’s OK, Obama did say we need to ‘make him’ do what is right. I don’t think his ‘fine words’ across time are simply for show. I think at some level he believes his better rhetoric. But I’ve observed what seems much immaturity, almost even
    ‘magical thinking’ habits.

    Most of us who hope to learn to be the best we can be, on behalf of self and humanity, practice in less consequential venues.- which has given us time to deal with ego and ambition along the way. Not saying it’s by design that we’re more cautious, such choices are significantly unconsciously accidental. But Obama, it seems to me, has been first and foremost driven by ego and ambition to “win” one of the world’s most powerful driver’s seats. Now that he’s where he is – which happens to coincide with conditions of global humanity and earth itself in the 21stC – it’s imperative that we stand with him when he’s in touch with deeper principles, and be quick to object and explain when he’s not. A sort of mentoring, if you will.

    IMO, his present resistance to being ‘jacked about’ by irrational power arguments, is merely an early his immature romance with power/wealth. We need to support him, and also we need to help him transfer what he’s learning about ‘people and earth first’ to upcoming matters (i.e. Social Security; Keystone XL pipeline, Trans Pacific Trade agreement, privatization of public ed, etc.),


    • Maggie,

      Compare the boy’s taking to his actions. He’s not ‘people and earth care centered.’ He’s Obama centered, with a bit of leaning towards various Leftist causes if they don’t get in his way too much,


  6. maggieannthoeni

    Jonolan, I wonder if you’d agree with me if I observe that Obama might *think* of himself as ‘people and earth care centered’ without realizing any such sympathies/empathies are strictly in his head.

    It’s my observation that Obama and others of his strata seldom have ‘gut’ experience that informs them viscerally of ‘ordinary’ life. Many if not most have lived most or all of their formative years in ‘rarified’ environments, where choices and resources matched up. (Bill Gates, I believe, is similarly ‘backgrounded’ – but there are many more, running governments, mega-corps, and global financial affairs.)

    Coming from the head, from abstractions of ‘what caring feels like’, these individuals genuinely believe, are able to convince themselves, that it is their duty to “manage” lives and opportunities for the rest of us. They probably even have moments when ‘real pain’ of others gets through to them, but they are so long-immersed in lives with little nitty-gritty economic challenges, that their default ‘understanding’ remains the abstraction.

    (reply too long – deleted some here)

    Yikes! Obama should intellectually (at least) know how Social Security recipients will be harmed if he agrees to the chained CPI. He should also know intellectually at least that the Keystone XL is already an environmental disaster, including cancer spikes to Canadian native families in the region. (Does he want children to thrive or not?) He should be able to figure out by common sense alone that destroying forests covering a region the size of Florida is not going to help with earth’s carbon issues. He should know it’s a lie to pump up income expectations of worried ordinary people (there will be a mere handful of long-term jobs coming from the project). But ‘chained CPI’ and pro-pipeline memes ‘sell well’ to a worried and uninformed public. And there are those in his strata he’d like to “cooperate” with. (This need to cooperate, to ‘win friends’ among this group, may be a very strong ‘gut’ motivating factor for him.)

    I see no remedy but for ordinary people to be increasingly informed, to share insights and information, and remind one another of our own innate intelligence and creative, problem solving potential. So armed – we must then bird-dog our “leaders” even at moments when they seem to be turning a more noble direction. We must press continuously for honesty and integrity. We must insist they at least not make things worse!

    Your note has caused me to ruminate on what I’ve laid out in my reply. Much wider scope I’m sure than you intended. Sorry.. I tend to relate to developments as much entangled. For instance, re a ‘wealthy managerial class’. They’re a busy group, undemocratically denying full disclosure to public, while constantly dreaming up ‘mega-sized’ solutions. To that topic, I may as well mention TPP – Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, “NAFTA on steroids”. Both Gates and Obama agree with the hundreds of corporatist leaders invited to work out details in secret that TPP is an excellent “national/global finances” scheme!

    I don’t think Obama is ‘leftist’ at all, maybe ‘liberalish’ but he’s entirely comfortable with the non-democratic idea of a ruling elitist class. Its my observation he’s solidly of a ‘corporatist’ paradigm. I hold the possibility his inspired statements come from some small part of him – that vaguely he’s aware of greater principles of service. But I hold this for other “all about me” politicians, which is most of them! Very few are motivated exclusively by a wish first to serve “the other”, (including all humanity and earth itself). To win any confidence from me, he’d have to start bucking power-player forces on a daily basis – I don’t expect this! 🙂


    • maggie – I agree with you that Obama isn’t leftist and in some things, esp drones, renditions etc – is quite the opposite. That business with the chained CPI really bothers me, because it’s a hit for people who depend on SS. It’s another step toward creating two classes of people. But in today’s political atmosphere, I’m profoundly grateful that he is the president and not Romeny.


      • SS is primarily, statistically speaking, for older, White people, Moe. By and large you’all don’t vote for Dems so you can just die insofar as Obama and the Dems are concerned…


        • maggieannthoeni

          Jonolan – I’m accustomed to class differentiations in analysis, but am puzzled somewhat by “SS .. is for older, White people..”. Can you elaborate? I thought SS was available to all ‘seniors’ who’d put in enough working hours to qualify. Race distinctions on this particular retirement benefit escape me, In fact, it seems to me more Whites would statistically be immune to reduction of benefit, due to having earned higher incomes (statistically) and having perhaps more investment income to rely on. (??) I relate to SS as especially important to what we consider “working class retirees” regardless of race. (I’m aware of ‘White’ upper middle income recipients receiving SS more or less as a ‘bonanza’, but am also aware of valid philosophical arguments against “needs testing”.) (For what it’s worth – there’s a group in Switzerland pushing for a guaranteed annual income for all citizens, regardless of age! Interesting twist on guaranteeing “access to resources” IMO1)


          • It’s raw numbers, Maggie. There are far, far, far more Whites getting SS than Blacks and Latinos together and those Whites tend not to be Democrats or have Dem leaning. Hence, pols like Obama really don’t care about them at all.

            Oh, and yes! The majority of those Whites would be seriously hurt by negative changes to SS. While, per capita, Blacks tends towards economic failure, Whites still account for the majority of the poorer people in America…again it’s just raw numbers.


            • maggieannthoeni

              Hmm … I think I’m following you, but am also wondering how tens of thousands and more non-Whites retirees (presumably inclined to vote dem) don’t weigh close to equal.

              IF Obama et al are inclined to dismiss this Dem voting constituency as ‘failures’, (which I suspect is possible; I don’t think Obama understands modest life expectations), — and IF Whites who might be most upset at negative changes to SS tend to vote Repub, — then I suppose it’s possible, in this day of cynical calculations, that SS is vulnerable due to “no political gain” thinking..

              I’d not thought in terms of party political gains. I tend to track a lot of progressive news and discussion sites and find many relatively comfortable liberalish thinkers, many probably White, are strongly opposed , for instance, to the idea of a chained CPI.

              This experience (of finding ‘relatively comfortable liberalish thinker,s presumed also White’, strongly opposed to tampering with SS), is one of several factors that causes me to read Obama as ‘corporatist’, rather than as a ‘traditional liberal’.

              IMO, the corporatist paradigm seeks to exploit any economic profit pocket, anywhere on earth it can be found. SS is one of these, along with student loans, public water and power systems, galloping fossil fuel extractions. These are profit “opportunities” gone to waste from their point of view: “Why not find a way to take a monetary cut out of that activity?” is a perpetual question to this paradigm. SS, the USPO, public ed, are “ripe for picking”. (From corporatist paradigm.) (IMO).


        • I’ve no idea what you’re saying there? Obviously SS is for people over 66, but what’s the vote/die thing?


      • maggieannthoeni

        Moe – Full agreement re ‘at least it’s not Romney’! I often think in ‘continuum’ models of human possibility. Romney is/was farther “lost” (IMO) re possibility of empathy than is Obama! I don’t have a well-developed comparative analysis but might suggest that to Romney and ilk there is no possibility of ‘outsider’, ‘dark horse’, remarkable beneficial contribution – while to Obama such possibility always exists, regardless of general life circumstances (Horatio Alger). Both players are enamored, in the end, to a concept of “meritocracy” that demands the individual be primarily focused on “me and my exceptional potential” vs “me and thriving individuals in thriving community”.

        I blame Tony Robbins’ spin on the human potential movement for some of this but it was ‘in the air’ more generally – what did Margaret Thatcher say? “There is no such thing as society…” There are qualifiers offering larger context to her statement, but the part that ‘caught’, I would argue, is that no individual challenge to thriving can be laid at the feet of social constructs. This is absurd or in multiple respects ‘victim blaming’ when “consensus reality” is considered. (Was my ancestress, hanged as a ‘witch’, really a witch, or did she fall victim to consensus reality?)

        I think humanity is badly in need of sorting out the balance between “thriving individual” and “thriving community” – and strongly suspect cooperation will need to prevail over competition for that to develop. (??)

        Heck of a dialogue you’ve inspired here! Tres bien! (Bringing it all back home – IMO, Obama is still too much captured by stats that strip out real human condition in favor of Horatio.. Is it possible that he early on astutely noticed how the game was played and was personally motivated to play to win? Can he relate to the worthiness of those who never wanted to “win” in the first place, but were cooperatively oriented all along? Cooperation first is not a strong American concept it seems to me. Yet Obama has this ‘thing’ about “working together”, so pressure to promote cooperation might reach him – even with regards to Syria and Iran, and even with regards to denying Keystone XL on ‘whole earth’ grounds! I’m not optimistic – but possibility, compared to Rooney’s seeming absolute obtuseness, it’s worth a shot!)


    • I think that Obama believes about himself whatever furthers the image of himself that he’s created. I feel much the same way about his words and deeds; they’re all, to my mind, filtered through his narcissism.

      And frankly, that’s the only explanation for his pathology that I can come up with and the only explanation I can find for his various words and deeds – which don’t line up at all and change on a whim, poll, or advice from his press / campaign staff.


  7. The President of the United States IS a politician that was elected to move in a direction that this country has been moving since George Bush fucked a lot up…..

    He’s been given an Ok twice….2008/2012…..

    Maggie all your stuff is fine but I see it this way….

    You don’t run for President of the United States of America without having a HEALTHY Ego….
    Barrack H Obama DOES…..

    That said….
    I agree that he does have the tendency to give shit up way to easy…..
    Right now…
    Harry Reid has been standing on Obama’s toes to get him from giving the GOPer’s a free 6 week extension of the debt ceiling in exchange for bringing MORE CUT to social programs like the KOCH Brothers want…..
    I believe that Reid is correct in thinking that the GOPer’s will continue to get hit with 6 week give back ‘s…Which is why Reid is on his case…and Boehner WANT Obama in the room to deal….

    We live in a world where people want to hurt others….

    Being President and swearing to keep American’s safe means that you HAVE go OUTSIDE the borders of this country to do so….

    Just we listen and look at what you, me and others do online, on the phone and just about everyplace….

    And that WILL continue….
    As long as any President takes their oath of office seriously


    • james – you speak a truth about all presidents (except perhaps Washington). They believe in themselves above all others. It wouldn’t work otherwise.


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