Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter
  3
Share on Facebook
  6
Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend
  1
10 Shares     
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats
1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

"Helpless President Lit" - The Latest Trend in Political Tragedy

Become a Fan
  (8 fans)
By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 9/6/11

opednews.com

from the Huffington Post

Call it "Helpless President Lit." A recent Ezra Klein column is the latest in a growing genre which celebrates our Commander-in-Chief, not as a powerful leader, but as a perennial victim. It portrays him as someone who's powerless over other people's actions, and sometimes even over his own. In this genre the President is forever at the whim of forces beyond his control, even when he has a supermajority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House.

Helpless President Lit is a form of melodrama. It's like an old-fashioned cliffhanger with the President replacing Little Nell, that noble young creature who's forever being tied to a train track or suspended over a gorge by some dastardly villain. Except the country's about to get hurt, not him - and nobody's coming to the rescue.

There'd be no point discussing this backward-looking and speculative genre if it didn't encourage the President and his supporters to continue on such a destructive course of action. I agree with Klein and other critics who say we focus too much attention on the Presidency. But this discussion affects our thinking and behavior at all levels of political engagement.

The only thing more destructive than expecting too much out of our leaders - or ourselves - is expecting too little.

The Rules of the Genre

There are strict conventions in "Helpless President Lit." Its authors must characterize the President's progressive critics as naive. They must say his detractors are expecting more than any President can deliver. The President must be portrayed as a victim of circumstance, powerless in the face of Republican intransigence.

This calls for the frequent use of code words like "realistic," designed to persuade the reader that its plausible to describe the most powerful executive in the world as a helpless creature of our political climate, rather than someone with the platform and the power to reshape it.

Forget all that talk about a "post-imperial Presidency." To them it's a post-Presidential Presidency. Can you imagine George W. Bush's supporters talking this way?

Once the President's helplessness has been attested to, attention is then directed toward his dissatisfied progressive constituents. The tone that's employed may vary from witheringly critical to mildly and politely condescending.

With each new work of "weak President lit," straw men tremble in fear. But real criticisms, most of which are clear-eyed and practical - and yes, realistic - go unheard. And a Democratic President is encouraged by his enablers to continue down a destructive - and self-destructive - path.

"... shadows on our eyes leave us helpless, helpless, helpless."

Klein's piece is called "What Could Obama Have Done?" The answer seems to be nothing - except possibly to be a little less awesome.

Klein writes:

"I've never been able to come up with a realistic scenario in which a lot more got done, the economy is in much better shape, and the president is dramatically more popular ..."

"Indeed, if you had taken me aside in 2008 and sketched out the first three years of Obama's presidency, I would have thought you were being overoptimistic: an $800 billion stimulus package -- recall that people were only talking in the $200-$300 billion range back then -- followed by near-universal health-care reform, followed by financial regulation ... (don't ask don't tell, Bin Laden, Gaddafi, etc) ... There was no way. And yet all that did get done."

"But the administration hasn't able to get unemployment under control -- perhaps it couldn't have gotten unemployment under control -- and so all of that has not been nearly enough."

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a former executive with experience in health care, benefits, and risk management, finance, and information technology. Richard worked for AIG and other insurance, risk management, and financial organizations. He was also a (more...)
 
Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

We're Better off Than Egypt -- Right? Let's Take a Look.

Will Public Outrage Finally Force the President and the States to Prosecute Outlaw Bankers?

Super Collusion: Will Obama and Capitol Dems Betray the Middle Class, Seniors and the Poor?

The GOP Plan to Cut Social Security ... Starting Right Now

Contempt

If the President Won't Do Something About Jobs, Who Will?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

So well dissected, an excellent drill-down into th... by AAA AAA on Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011 at 12:42:00 PM