“Mr. Obama has a far better product to sell than Tea Partiers like Mr. [Jim] DeMint. But Mr. Obama needs to connect better with American voters. He needs to lose the cool and start sweating — and slugging.” — Nicholas Kristof in the Nov. 4 New York Times.
Mr. Kristof’s advice to Mr. Obama reminds me of something Mr. Odd Man Out wrote back on July 22: “[Obama’s] failure to respond in a passionate and coherent way to Republican lies regarding the stimulus package, health care reform, the Gulf oil spill, jobless benefits and other issues large and small has cost us dearly. We all lose every time he fails to fight back.” This was under the heading: “Be an aggressor, or a counterpuncher. Anything but a stiff.”
Kristof seems an innately civil chap, eminently reasonable, not unlike Obama seems. Maybe that’s why it took him until after the midterms to understand that many Americans have come to perceive Obama as not reasonable but rather — putting it as politely as possible — overly cautious.
Obama’s meek approach to dealing with his sworn enemies is hard to fathom, given the fact that he’s well educated and surely knows that American politics has always been not only undignified but downright savage. He should remember that the best presidents, Lincoln and FDR, were attacked the most fiercely, by much more formidable foes than Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Jim DeMint.
Better late than never, though it’s still inexcusable that Kristof and other well-intentioned liberals didn’t exhort Obama to fight earlier this year, when he hid out rather than push back against rightwing liars.