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In Obama I Trust

21 November 2008
Mark Schmitt, The American Prospect

Mark Schmitt, The American Prospect

A few days ago, at the suggestion of my friend over at WillPen’s World, I read a posting by Mark Schmitt at The American Prospect.  The title of the post was, “The Audacity of Patience.” Mr. Schmitt gave an extremely well researched and thought-out plan of action that he felt would be the best path for President-Elect Obama to follow.  I suggest everyone read this intriguing article and take its advice to heart.  I will not attempt to add anything to Mr. Schmitt’s brilliant piece of advice to President-Elect Obama, but instead I will use it as the foundation of my advice to my fellow liberally-inclined Democrats as we watch the Obama Transition Team plan their administration.

obama-contemplative-headshotThe backbone of Schmitt’s piece was the idea that patience is the great producer of results.  I have never been a patient sort, and by the looks of the liberal blogosphere most of us are not.  There has been a loud and forceful ringing of criticism from the left about the decisions being made by our incoming President and his advisers.  The complaints have ranged from who he has selected to which post all the way to who he has offered olive branches to in the wake of a brutal election campaign.  The right has accused him of sloppiness in the Emanuel rollout and now in the run-up to the Hillary Clinton nomination as Secretary of State.

clinton-hillary-obamaI, for one, refuse to join in any of this drama.  I, instead, have decided to take my cue from the “coolest guy” I’ve seen for a long time.  Despite the media making its own drama – something it exists to do – around every aspect of the transition of power, I note that the man himself calmly stays behind the scenes making his deliberate choices, refusing to be rushed or manipulated by anyone.  Some were saying yesterday that the Clintons were “boxing” him in, but I didn’t believe it for a minute.  That’s just hyped up media drama to get us to keep watching them.  I felt all along that Barack Obama knew exactly what was going on and exactly what he was doing.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  This guy is patience personified.

obama-barack-worn-out-shoesIt has been my observation that he was already following the path outlined by Mark Schmitt.  He has patiently and deliberately made his way to every decision that has brought him the “impossible dream.”  Just a year ago he looked like some upstart who was daring to take on Hillary Clinton in her “done-deal” march to the Presidency.  Many felt he was just “getting his feet wet” for some future run.  However, quietly, ever so quietly, Barack Obama was embarking on a serious campaign for the Presidency of the United States.  And what a campaign it was.  He was not greeted with anywhere near universal acceptance as a candidate.  Even African Americans were extremely skeptical and feared lending their support to an unelectable candidate outside “Clinton World.”  But quietly and deliberately the former community organizer organized.  Over and over again when everyone was asking the question, “Why can’t Barack Obama ‘seal the deal?’ he picked up another constituency and placed it almost unnoticed into his electoral piggybank.

barak-obama-05 While calmly allowing Hillary Clinton to continue an extremely negative campaign against him, he used the contest to organize his ground game in states that would later prove to be vital to his election.  While I, as an impassioned supporter, fumed at Hillary and questioned his ability to smack her down, he just kept on keeping on with his core belief that negativity would result in a net loss.  His patience was rewarded by a steady stream of Democratic super delegates that could see him as the winner he turned out to be.

McCain 2008Then once again, he patiently continued his issues-oriented campaign push in the face of the Sarah Palin nomination and a wave of negative personal attacks which rattled his supporters to their cores.  Somehow, he knew he was right and let the angry Republicans drive more and more people into his corner toward election day.  Piece by piece he picked up each constituency he needed along the way in the face of withering criticism from the media and Republicans – and even some Democrats – that he couldn’t get this group or that group to vote for him.  He ignored the warnings of “The Bradley Effect” which was a major fascination FOR everyone else, focusing instead on jobs, jobs, jobs and an economy that could provide and sustain them.  Instead of pointing out the million good reasons that John McCain was the wrong man for the job, he continued focusing on why he was the right man for the job.  In the end the voters proved to be listening to issues and not trash talk, sweeping Barack Obama into office with a breathtaking majority.

obama_collage1And yet – and yet – friends and foes alike still question his every decision and move as though they think this brilliant man doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing.  But the man at the eye of the storm, Barack Hussein Obama, remains steady and unshaken in his vision for one America.  He continues to patiently follow his belief that a united America can overcome whatever obstacles it encounters, and to drive that home he has made friends of his adversaries:  Hillary Clinton, John McCain and even the hated Joe Lieberman.  That, my friends, is called: healing wounds.  What an inspiration he truly is.  My fellow liberals, ask yourself, isn’t he the embodiment of what we have always sought in a leader: a cool head, a fair and honest approach to everyone he comes in contact with, a deep intelligence and the ability to use those talents for the common good?  Then once you’ve answered that question, realize that it has been decades since we have had a leader with the eloquence to express his visions in a way that unites and motivates millions of people to join him in his hopes not only for our nation but for the world.  WOW!  What more can we ask?

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Now, back to the audacity of patience.  It is time for us to follow our leader and show our own patience with him as he patiently goes about the enormous job we have called upon him to do.  Allow him the latitude to choose the best and the brightest to accomplish the tasks at hand.  Those tasks are monumental, and only those worthy of a monument some day may be able to rise to the job.  Allow Barack Obama to make a lasting change in the way we conduct our nation’s business by doing it right.  Realize that nobody, even the brilliant Barack Obama, can get everything done immediately.  There’s just too much to do.  So be patient and allow him to prove he deserves to be listened to and followed, and then trust him to take your own personal issues up and deliver what you have been so desperately praying for, whatever it is.  If we push too hard and don’t view the long term, we could end up with whatever gains we may make being swept away in a Republican landslide in four or eight years.  Let’s not make the mistake of Karl Rove and George W. Bush and push our agendas to the breaking point.  It’s not worth it.

So, my best advice: be patient and CELEBRATE!  We Democrats and liberals have much to celebrate, so enjoy the moment and allow President Barack Obama to do his job.

KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 November 2008 4:36 pm

    Jack,

    I am beaming from ear to ear. I just knew that you would do justice to that great article in the American Prospect. You have succinctly described the essence of Mark Schmitt’s point. The power of patience is something that we should all learn from our soon to be President.

    The more I read about Barack Obama and the more I get to know about the man, the more convinced I am that if we just let him do his job, he will lead us to greatness. I have not felt like this in more years than I can remember. We must not allow ourselves to squander this opportunity.

    Again Jack, you did a great job. I am going to link to this post from my blog and spread it around. Thank you.

  2. Left-Eyed Jack permalink*
    21 November 2008 4:53 pm

    To: WillPen,

    Thank you!

  3. morelightthanheat permalink
    22 November 2008 2:24 pm

    Jack,
    There’s another, perhaps less noticed effect of Obama’s victory. Young people and some of us not-so-young are inspired again to get involved and to stay involved. IBD (Intelligent by Design) is looking for ways to use his professional skills to make a difference. Echoing the Noise (http://echoingthenoise.wordpress.com) has a short post up about ways to get and stay involved. I’ve mentioned Naomi Wolf’s book on how to navigate the system and become a force for change. Obama’s campaign seems to have tapped into something we haven’t seen in this country since those heady days of the 1960s, before the excesses took over.

    Call it patience or the ability to see over the horizon, our President-Elect has it in abundance. I firmly believe that losing the long view is a major contributor to our current financial woes. For too long, the so-called experts have focused on the next quarterly report, sacrificing the future for the present.

    Our parents and grandparents took the long view, sacrificing their own immediate wants to ensure that the future would be better, for them, their children and grandchildren. Certainly there is a balance. How sad when we find possessions carefully packed away, rarely if ever used because they were “too good” to use every day. But the buy now, pay later days of instant gratification are equally disasterous when finally the bills come due.

  4. Left-Eyed Jack permalink*
    23 November 2008 7:07 pm

    To: More Light Than Heat,

    Right you are! The abundance of ideas and foresight seems to flow daily from the center of the Obama universe. In addition, he hearkens back to the invitation issued by John F. Kennedy by calling on us to do what we can for our country. It is a sunny hopeful day that I see ahead for our nation.

    As for our parents and grandparents, they lived in a day when credit wasn’t a way of life but something to be used only for major, good purposes. No plastic, no instant gratification. Those were truly the good old days. It meant you really had something to look forward to on Christmas morning.

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