“Reading Obama”

Posted on November 13, 2010 by

As horrified democrats stepped up their criticism of Obama, an alternative voice entered the conversation:

Arguing that this president’s inclination to hear, respect and accommodate all sides of an issue is not a sign of political inexperience or character weakness.

But, according to Harvard history prof James Kloppenberg, a reflection of Barack’s intellectually powerful understanding of American democracy.

And an expression of the president’s commitment to bridging deep cultural and political differences in our society.

Watch Kloppenberg discuss his book “Reading Obama” with Charlie Rose and maybe you’ll gain a little relief – as I did – from the looming prospect of a “failed presidency.”

Because, like it or not, Obama is probably not going to change.

It doesn’t matter what people around him want.  When you walk into a big job – in business, in politics, running a nonprofit or a labor organization – you bring what’s worked for you in the past.  You see the world through your own eyes.

We know from our own lives and behavior how hard it is to change and how easy it is to get defensive when criticized.  What could I do to make you – or me – different?

Obama supporters who want the president to be more combative, clever and commanding are baffled, frustrated and don’t know what to do.

How about accepting him as he is?

It’s just a thought.

Comments (6)


  1. Glen Arnodo says:

    I can accept Obama the way he is. Hell, I’m not going to change, either. What I can’t accept, however, is losing. So maybe our president — and I mean “our” president — will have to pretend he’s a different person for the next two years.

  2. Greg says:

    It does matter “what we want” for those of us who worked tirelessly to put President Obama in the White House. Remember “what we want” is what Candidate Obama said he would bring to us. The next two years should be even more disappointing.
    I will watch that video now, I hope I feel bad that I posted this message before watching the video first.

    • Rudy Corral says:

      We have only began to fight its a process to bring about change we have to go through to see it don’t work and escalate the fight so cheer up my friend and get out the ski mask and monkey wrenches the battle is going to be long.

  3. Rudy Corral says:

    We as the people who elected Obama need to finish the job. We need to stay on the course we elected Obama for, we are so spoiled in that we think we have done everything there is to do in electing Obama in order to have the change we seek were we really so naive to believe that’s all it would take to bring about change when we haven’t even began to understand what we want to change too and what we want to keep, protect or restore. History will teach you its our job as the people of the United States to bring about the change we seek not Obama’s. Remember there is another side out there that is organizing as well for there agenda and its up to us to win the hearts and souls of this country to wake up and realize there is a better way then where we are and where we’ve been.

  4. bill says:

    He’s very bright, and much better at that job, or any portion of it, than I will ever be.

    But he’s treating the Republicans as honest merchants, and their actions — at least, those of their leadership — shows that they are not. Surely he knows this. Why he continues to act this way….it’s beyond me.

  5. Jann Whetstone says:

    I also need to watch this video, however, As bad as I want the President to do what I want him to do- all of the things that are in the best interest of myself, my family, my union and my community, I also understand that he must try to do the best job for everyone- even though I dont agree! I know the republicans don’t look at life the way I do. Tax cuts for the most wealthy/corp’s I don’t think so! They have life all twisted the bottom line is “each and every person (Democrat) must vote the right people in office and get off our “working class rumps” and get to the polls! Write letters etc etc.

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