Politics

Obama’s emotions — or lack thereof — become matter for public debate, overlaying oil spill and economy

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Jon Ward
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      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

Two wars. An environmental crisis. Global fiscal instability. Growing debt and deficits. Continued joblessness. And the nation’s talking class is fixated on presidential emoting.

Questions about whether President Obama is showing the appropriate level of anger over the oil spill in the Gulf kicked into a new gear this week, after his comments Monday morning on “The Today Show” introduced race into the debate.

Obama’s remark that he was looking for “ass to kick” over the spill provoked a headline on the Drudge Report that said the president was “going street.” That stirred two days of speculation – most of it on cable news – about whether a black president or a black man in general can show anger without provoking fear in white Americans.

Obama’s comment appeared to be, in part, an attempt to show that he was upset about the spill, in response to critics who have questioned whether he is showing the public that he cares enough about the ongoing disaster.

“The same people now criticizing him (e.g. Fox Morning team) criticized him for not showing anger a few days before. Go figure,” said Lanny Davis, a former White House special counsel to President Bill Clinton.

“It’s a completely bogus issue. Not 99 percent, 100 percent bogus,” Davis said in an interview.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs shrugged off questions about the president’s comment at the daily briefing Wednesday, which has been called unpresidential by senators and TV journalists.

“I’ve not heard any regrets about the language,” Gibbs said.

One prominent Democrat, however, said that the entire situation – the use of such strong language to compensate for Obama’s more cerebral and stoic personality — exposed a void in Obama’s leadership style.

“Politics is about something much deeper than problem-solving. The essence of morality is empathy. If you feel someone’s pain the chances are you’re a good person. The Golden Rule is basically: Feel someone else’s pain,” the veteran Democrat told The Daily Caller.

“And when you cast yourself as the problem-solver in chief — devoid of empathy, denigrating empathy — you had damn well better solve the problem. Anyone out there think we’ve solved the BP spill? Or unemployment? Or the deficit? No. Problem-solving takes time, and the only way voters will give you the time you need is by showing them you’re on their side,” said the Democrat consultant, who asked not to be identified in order to speak more frankly.

Public attitudes about Obama’s leadership have been slipping for some time. A little-noticed set of numbers in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday showed that on two questions — whether Obama “understands the problems of people like you,” and whether he is “a strong leader” — the president lost ground in the last three months, which continues a downward trend since his election.

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Watch Juan Williams explain President Obama’s “dilemma,” in an appearance Wednesday on Fox News.

[flashvideo file=http://dailycaller.firenetworks.com/001646/dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/juanwilliams.flv /]

  • rainmaker1145

    This is from Rolling Stone and be ready to be shocked”
    “Most troubling of all,” Dickinson contends, is that, in the wake of the disaster in the Gulf, the White House allowed BP to continue production unchecked on another rig, the Atlantis. That drilling rig is located 150 miles off the Louisiana coast and is drilling in waters much deeper than those in the area where Deepwater Horizon was. He writes:

    According to congressional documents, the platform lacks required engineering certification for as much as 90 percent of its subsea components — a flaw that internal BP documents reveal could lead to “catastrophic” errors. In a May 19th letter to [Interior Secretary] Salazar, 26 congressmen called for the rig to be shut down immediately. “We are very concerned,” they wrote, “that the tragedy at Deepwater Horizon could foreshadow an accident at BP Atlantis.”

    The administration’s response to the looming threat? According to an e-mail to a congressional aide from a staff member at MMS, the agency has had “zero contact” with Atlantis about its safety risks since the Deepwater rig went down.”

  • FreedomRocket

    Get your hands off me you damned dirty ape.

  • B.O. STINKS

    Obama is a curse.