Tag Archive | "Mario Cuomo"

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Campaign in Poetry, Govern in Prose

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-08-23 23:19:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

August 23, 2009

From a psychological perspective, narcissistic people do not do well when the cards are stacked against them. Few would argue that Barak Obama possesses a rich dose of such self-absorbing traits. His energy is derived from mass adoration, from loud chants of support from his frenzied constituents, and from nodding of heads among the swarm of “yes” people that make up his inner-most circle. The personality makeup of this inner circle is in itself evidence of the strong need our president has for constant reinforcement and acceptance. In many ways, he is a child of the x-generation, brought up in a culture of having the universe revolve around him.

While self adulation served him well during his assent to prominence, where his confidence transcended all voices of skepticism, questioning his sincerity, veracity of promises made and his fundamental ability to deliver on those promises, now in a position of executive power, this same character trait is a strong obstacle to his effective leadership. Moreover, it is likely to become the noose on which his progressive liberal agenda will hang in testament of the poor leadership which the president has exhibited so far.

One of the most noticeable (but not much discussed) behaviors of the president is the extent to which he is shown to the public in solo appearances.  It is rare indeed to see him in any sort of a group setting. All that the media seems to ever get a glimpse of is the president walking alone to his helicopter, stepping up alone to a press conference podium, talking one-on-one, armchair-to-armchair with a reporter or visiting dignitary, or lecturing at a town-hall event or fund raiser. What is profoundly missing from this image is that of a strong, central figure surrounded by an equally strong leadership team, setting the tone of the conversation, crisply defining specific goals and delegating mission tactics to his lieutenants. Instead, after just a few months in office, the only images the public sees of the president seem to project exhaustion and isolation, lack of clarity of direction and being lost in the face of mounting public disagreement with his core beliefs.

There is a quote attributed to Mario Cuomo which roughly goes like this: “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” And as with most great campaigners, Barak Obama has embraced an ideological dogma and has made great poetry of it during his campaign. His campaign message of social justice and accountable government, interspersed with hope, optimism and himself as the protagonist knight on a white horse, admittedly made for a great work of campaign poetry. Now that the last verse of the poem has been written, it is time to take out the true and tried manual of governing that is the Constitution which, while written in prose, is what defines our nation, its traditions and values.  Barak Obama somehow misses this critical point and until he does get it (if he ever does), his presidency will continue to be ineffective and mired in disarray.

The Constitution does not require exceptional leadership from any one individual nor any of the branches of government it defines – in fact, the process of checks and balances specifically provides a remedy for the flaws of human behavior which are expected to permeate all levels of government. However, the overall benefit to the nation is exponentially greater when such a leader emerges. But what the Constitution does not provide an antidote for is subversive activity which undermines it in the first place. The current president and anti-constitutional proponents of expanded government throughout the 20th century appear to have discovered and understood the potential inherent in this Achilles heel of our system of government and are trying to usurp their hegemony over the founding principles of the Constitution.  By so doing, and with each legislative weakening of the links which bond the pieces of the Constitution together, the buffers which protect us against weak (or in fringe cases corrupt or incompetent) leaders are similarly undermined. Like a weakened immune system of a body, this exposes our society to progressively more virulent strains of government infectious activity to reach progressively deeper into our lives, to restrict our liberties and our freedom.

So frankly, I don’t particularly ascribe a great deal of emotion to whether Barak Obama will “snap out” of his campaign shell and begin to lead our nation with an intelligent domestic and international agenda. For now he is still bound by the limits on his authority through the Constitution and, as I am deeply convinced, his presidency will not just be a one-term event, but indeed will be recorded in history as one of the greatest polar swings in popularity, combined with the fastest fall from glory that any president has ever encountered.  He will soon be followed by another flawed human being (regardless of whether democrat, republican, libertarian, independent or other).  And that is how our system works.

On occasion we are blessed with an Abraham Lincoln or a Ronald Reagan who awakens us to what our nation can be and moves us to a higher plane of national self realization. Those are rare events but they leave behind a legacy which must survive until the time that the next such event occurs. We are in this transitional period now, awaiting the next “great emancipator” or the “great communicator” to make his/her mark on this great nation. In the meantime, our constitutional system of government must be protected and constantly re-enforced to allow for and support the next leap forward.

While the fate of Barak Obama’s presidency will in the end be unremarkable, his lack of leadership during his presidency can over the remaining duration of his term gravely affect the course of events in the unruly Congress which continues to accelerate the march toward the liberalization of our system of free market capitalism. This is where the focus of attention needs to be and where efforts to materially affect the makeup and balance of power should be centered.  The opportunity to do so is presented to us every November.

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Article may published with attribution to the author and web site

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