Monday, April 13, 2009

Politics: Obama Can Elbow

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The recent inclusion of President Barack Obama in Esquire magazine's "List of Men" as part of its recent "how to be a man" issue, juxtaposed with the question of how he would respond to the pirate hostage crisis, has resulted in an inordinate amount of discussion in recent days about whether Obama is masculine enough. With Obama having authorized lethal force against the pirates and even libertarians like Jon Keller praising his actions, I expect that the debate is over.

Why there was ever a debate is completely beyond me. Sure, his rhetoric usually lacks bravado and is often humble and realistic, which some view as weak. Those that seem to still want a cowboy leading their nation don't seem to understand the basic playground wisdom that the truly self-confident, particularly those with power to wield, don't need to use bravado. They can behave exactly the way Obama tends to behave and gain a lot more influence than if they went around threatening all the rival males around them.

The silliness of it all reminded me of a past politician in a similar mold, former Senator Bill Bradley. When he ran for President in 2000, his then-wife Ernestine was very active in the campaign, and it didn't take much effort now to find the story she liked to tell in a Boston Globe article:
As a person, Bill was always gentle and kind and soft-spoken, always considerate, and I would say to myself, "My gosh, I hope they are not going to push him over." Then when I saw him playing basketball, using these elbows and everything else, I felt very good and thought, "That man is OK!"
Bradley didn't need to show to bravado, he just got the job done, including throwing a few elbows when playing basketball.

I probably don't need to point out that Barack Obama is also a pretty decent basketball player (and, in fact, Michelle Obama has been quoted as saying that she had her brother play basketball with him as a sort of evaluation technique when they were dating). He knows when to use his elbows. The situation with the pirates was one such example, and out they came. Anyone that has been paying attention should not have been surprised.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is your best. I think you are ready for prime time!