Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 7 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/19/11

Is this Obama's 'Bring-it-Home,' Unplugged Moment?

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   4 comments
Author 50212
Become a Fan
  (35 fans)


Obama Enraged
Obama Enraged
(Image by Breen, San Diego Tribune)
  Details   DMCA

While George Lakoff declares "all politics is moral" -- a pageant of values in action -- the great paradox is great politicians need not be especially moral or law-abiding or compassionate.  LBJ comes to mind, renowned for high-handed, rough talk, hardnosed deal-making, and the bloodbath that was Vietnam. My hero, FDR, dishonored himself and America when abusing the rights of law-abiding citizens with the racist internment of Japanese-American.  And sometimes, he was untruthful.


Sure, LBJ had moral principles, like any Texas wheeler-dealer, old-style Democrat desperate for a legacy -- to win big, dominate his era, and be adored by millions.  Of course that was long before Texas went goofy, practicing its own spiritual secession from the rest of America.  Last week, Texas upped its speed limit to 85 mph, bespeaking its out-of-touch, sheik-enriching, gas guzzling mentality.  


Once upon a time, appealing politicians needed moral character but not since Nixon, Clinton, W. and Gingrich came along.  Indeed, fussing over a politician's inner motivation, even sincerity -- is usually a fool's errand, similar to misusing words like good or evil for amoral pragmatists.  Politicians should be judged by success, overcoming unexpected, dire events, and whether you agree with their achievements. Election winners, as history shows, are no more -- or less -- moral than lawyers, doctors, plumbers or real estate brokers. 


Focus on Known Knowns


Thus let's put aside that which we will never know about politicians (or most high fliers) -- ultimate intentions -- and stick to empirical behavior, like decisions or speeches or battle lines.  Look at the utter wasteland when authoritarians divide the world between "good Christians" (or good Muslims) vs. "traitorous, enemy evil-doers." Talking of overmoralizing, it's laughable how Birthers blame not only our feckless president for not getting born in Hawaii but impugn his parents for blowing the obvious cover-up -- making them immoral and dumb.


Admirable politicians answer only to one standard: to advance the greatest, long-term good for the greatest number, here serving our greatest American value: socio-economic mobility.  That mandates good public education, lack of discrimination, public health care -- and access to capital.  Certainly, overt immorality impedes good politicians from progressive gains (Clinton for one), and flagrant lying usually obscures cataclysm (LBJ, Nixon, or W. the fabricated "war president").  Notably, the private Obama (and top staff) have escaped scandals over sex, money, or indictable influence peddling.  What if Obama boasts moral family values, he's a bust so far as a liberal president, increasingly as any kind of president.  Nice guys make dreadful negotiators-in-chief.


In this light -- let's unpack not his inscrutable (in)sincerity or imagined motivation but last week's scandalous headline, "Obama Unplugged," regarding an offstage brouhaha from our presidential Sphinx.  "You want to repeal health care?" Obama taunted Republicans into a mic he didn't know was live: "Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'"


A Powerhouse of Timidity 

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Rate It | View Ratings

Robert S. Becker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

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

Summer in the GOP Asylum: "Who are these guys?"

Deadline Looms To Fund Critical Ocean Plastic-Trash Film

Trickle-down Gulf Wreck-onomics

"Apocalypse Now' Vogue Engulfs Chicken Littles

Moses Kaput -- Rightwing Ten Commandments To Serve Looming Theocracy

"God Particle' Refudiates the Religious Right

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: