Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Two Cents Worth: World Cup and Obama - Actions Speak Louder Than Words

World Cup Tomorrow:  England vs. Germany

I've lived in Germany and England so I have divided loyalties. Just in case, I have the flags of Germany and England in my apartment, including a Berlin bear.  I have all the basis covered.  Too bad the USA is out.  I always pull for the underdog.

Two Cents Worth

Unlike most people, I didn't expect much from President Obama. I wasn't particularly impressed with candidate Obama; yet, over the past 17 months, he has shown restraint and thoughtful leadership skills.  When he is allowed to be himself, he is particularly impressive: thoughtful, reflective and reserved.  In those rare instances when he tries to be the "common man," it doesn't work.  He comes across like a Tiger Woods apology - disingenuous.

President Obama doesn't participate in theater politics or make impulsive decisions.  In some circles, he's seen as too professorial or detached. His critics may have a point, but being reflective, intelligent and detached are qualities that can be advantageous, particularly when making difficult and complex decisions.  For the most part, his presidency has avoided the carefully prepared "sound bites" so common in today's market politics.  I applaud him for his restraint.  I am sure those around him have advised otherwise.

However, I do have a bone to pick with the President.  It's his negative statements about the previous administration.  It first started during his Inaugural Address.  His comments about the failures of the previous administration were unnecessary. This was the time to talk about his presidency not the previous one. This was especially inappropriate since President Bush was sitting just a few feet away. To those viewing the ceremony, the comments came across as crass and unbecoming of the "change" President.  Did change mean it was okay be rude.

Unfortunately, the President has continued to make these types of disparaging remarks throughout his first year in office.  He keeps reminding us of how America has a long way to go to repair the mistakes of the past and how his administration is going to fix them. While I am no fan of President Bush or his policies, President Obama's comments are inappropriate and show a lack of propriety.  He's not running against Mr. Bush. The election is over.  Does the President want to lower himself to the level of the US Congressman who shouted "liar" during his Congressional address?

Last week, the President continued his assault.  While eating a hamburger and french fries (trying to show how he is just a regular Joe) with Russian President Medvedev, the President stated that the USA and Russia had come a long way in repairing the damage done during the previous administration, and that he looked forward to improving relations between the two countries.  Why the President found it necessary to again reference the previous administration in an unkind light is unclear. 

It's no secret what occurred during the Bush administration: unbridled abuse of power, blatant disregard for civil rights, and irresponsible fiscal policies.  We don't need to be reminded.  We experienced it first hand.  As a result, we voted the Republicans out of office.  Now, it's time for the Obama administration to continue with its own priorities, stop finger pointing, and get down to business. There is no reason to continue to cast blame. Actions do speak louder than words. 

I suggest that the President follow an example from the Laura Bush Play Book: be gracious, be polite, be yourself, and don't use another person to make yourself look good.  

We live in an uncivil society.  Decorum is a thing of the past: four letter words are spoken in polite society and nobody raises an eyebrow, crass remarks are made by our elected officials and they are viewed as "speaking the truth," someone cuts you off on the freeway and you feel obliged to flip them off.  It's all okay.  Well, it's not okay.  It's time to return to civility. 

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