On the Nose: President Obama

It’s difficult to describe how annoyed I am with all the calls, especially from the so-called left, for Obama to be “bolder” in the face of such complicated problems at home and abroad. It’s depressing and suggests that while Bush’s politics may have been abhorrent, too many people who should know better actually seem to like his style! Our cowboy culture runs so deep that many of us don’t know how to cope with a president who is methodical who is, to borrow words from John Hodges, a nerd and not a jock.

I would like to blame the press, but that’s too easy. They are a large part of the problem because jocks and cowboys are more fun to report on than nerds, and covering real policy making must be like watching paint dry. But (and it’s important here to recall that “but” and “butt” sound the same and that “butt” is another word for “ass”), we make choices and keep ourselves overstimulated by listening to the rhetoric of folks like Bill Maher, forgetting that first and foremost the man is an entertainer who makes his living by arguing against whoever is in power. He is, as I wrote to a friend recently, a professional malcontent, and a very wealthy one who lives in a bubble where his “liberalism” is rarely challenged. All the analysis, even from those who the left-leaning among us might agree with, is less important than we realize, and it’s time to calm down and refocus. It’s time, I think, to read more books and watch less television, and, I think, it’s time for all of us to remember and embrace what Obama told Chuck Todd during yesterday’s press conference:

“I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I’m not. O.K.?”

He’s not, and we shouldn’t be either.