My fellow bloggers like to tease me about my penchant for psychoanalysis. And I’ll admit, I’m endlessly fascinated by the things people do and their reasons for doing them. I often wonder how I found myself teamed up with this brilliant group of fact-based scientists, economists and statisticians. Sometimes I feel like a silly, scruffy wildebeest frolicking in a herd of elegant racehorses.
But we are what we are, and if you’re a wildebeest you can’t really hide it…you might as well caper and dance. So I think I’ll take my psychoanalysis right to the top, and have a peek inside the elegant skull of America’s 44th president. What makes this guy tick?
This is a curiosity that has become an obsession with me lately…and I’m not alone. Across the land (and around the world) there are pundits, pols, and ordinary people wondering the same thing, including loyal supporters who say they are “exhausted” by the struggle to defend the president’s motivations.
What’s up with this president? He was swept into power with a solid majority of the country enthusiastically behind him, and the hopes of the whole world like a wind at his back. Now he sometimes seems almost afraid to move. He was inspiring and confident, surefooted and decisive. Now he often looks nervous and uncertain. Most dispiriting to his supporters, he seems reluctant to fight. Time after time he reaches out to the Republicans, trying to accommodate them, and for many of us this is infuriating and painful to watch because he gets nothing in return. It’s not in the nature of the current Republican party to graciously meet one concession with another. They are more like spoiled children who see any concession as a sign of weakness and immediately swarm in, clamoring for more, more, MORE!
How can a man so elegant and gifted be flummoxed by a bunch of noisy, fractious clowns in fright wigs and floppy shoes? It’s baffling. Is he just getting bad advice? Maybe he doesn’t like the job and is hoping not to be re-elected. Maybe he likes it so much that instead of playing to win, he’s playing not to lose. It could be he’s daunted by the insane schedule and the restrictions on privacy and ease of movement that are so much more onerous than he expected. Perhaps he’s just weighed down and sobered by the enormous problems facing the country, and feels no man can do much to solve them when faced with such relentless opposition. Maybe he’s playing rope-a-dope and now that he’s got the opposition lulled into a false sense of security, he will burst into the center of the ring at any moment with a flurry of deadly jabs and uppercuts.
Nobody knows. Everybody is wondering.
My personal belief is that the president is playing a very long game. I think he is a genuinely, deeply brilliant man, and he looks into the distance while we are all still caught up in the minutia of rules, procedures and opening gambits. I am virtually certain that his is going to be one of those presidencies that will, with the benefit of history, be seen as transformative. It seems to me that transformation is one of Barack Obama’s goals…of the nation’s attitudes, the way government works, and the way the political parties interact. I expect, now that mid-terms are over, that he will emerge with a lot of his old fire and we will see him stand and fight for what he wants to achieve.
But that’s the fun of psychoanalysis; it’s a game that anybody can play. So….what do you think the president is thinking?
- Obama and McCain on the Couch (crooksandliars.com)