The NYT this morning has a scathing editorial on the pettiness of John Boehner’s refusal to allow Obama to make his jobs speech on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and they accuse Obama of caving once again by agreeing to give his speech on the following day. I think I agree that Obama caved yet again, but then I find the following reader’s comment:
Really? This delay, even seen as a concession to a request, however churlish, from another elected representative of considerable stature (i.e., the Speaker of the House) is seen as “caving” or some sort of sign of weakness? Was Lincoln’s willingness to wait patiently to meet with General George B. McClellan, the general-in-chief of the Union Army at the early stages of the Civil War (and, later, his Democratic rival for re-election as President) also “caving” or weakness?
What has happened to the notion that it is the stronger, more mature, and more self-possessed individual and leader who can overlook – much less ignore – such pettiness and posturing, keeping his (or her) eye on the more important issues and goals of good governance and the communication of one’s vision and plans for the same?
Or are virtues such as patience, restraint, and forbearance (yes, even towards the small, the petty, and, dare I say it, “those who hate you”) of no value and are no longer desired in our leaders, much less our President and Commander-in-Chief?
OK, this is all well and good. Clearly, Lincoln showed forbearance and maturity and became one of our very greatest presidents. But look what Obama is up against:
I don’t know how true this is, but on The Ed Show (granted hardly an unbiased source) it was said that the Obama people sent the request early in the morning, and that Boehner hesitated in replying to the President, until after Rush Limbaugh went on the air and on the warpath and publicly berated Boehner for not turning down the President’s request immediately. It seems the Republicans in office are so beholden (again, if this is true) to such non-elected personalities as Limbaugh, Beck and Grover Norquist that they cannot act independently on their own. In fact, if you include the astroturf groups such as The Club for Growth and Freedomworks, it seems elected Republicans are no better than lemmings marching to the drumbeat of corporate-funded advocacy groups and media individuals.Not to let Obama off the hook, because he backed down again, but the Republican have no intention of showing respect for the office of the President as long as their leadership-in-fact is a bunch of astroturf groups and rich individuals, especially Rush Limbaugh. I can’t believe so many poor and middle-class individuals are taken in by a rich man who flaunts a golden microphone, and how many politicians, including the one who is second in the line to the presidency, are beholden to him.
Is this equivalent to what Lincoln was up against? It may have been worse in Lincoln’s time but at least then there was no instant media to excite the masses.
The first quote was by William Gabriel of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the second was by r5169 of Midwestern U.S.A.