I’m not sure I’d agree with this. But I did see several readers who cast President Obama’s debate performance last night as part of a larger problem of resisting or retreating from confrontation. One of them was TPM Reader HM. It’s something the campaign and the president need to take note of …
Longtime reader with a take on the debate that I’ve not seen stated elsewhere:
I’ve been an avid Obama supporter, voted for him in 2008 and will be voting for him again, but Obama’s performance last night highlights the very real, absolute worst thing about him as a president and leader:
He can’t handle confrontation. He wilted at Romney’s aggressive approach. It totally threw him off his game and he never rebounded in any effective way.
And, it’s highly representative of a wider problem.
To his credit as a human being, Obama’s wired to irrepressibly seek compromise, to hold out the possibility of unifying the most polarized and entrenched forces, because he wants everyone to just get along. How many times have we heard him say, “I will listen to and consider any good ideas, whether they’re from Democrats or Republicans.”?
Unfortunately, this clearly gives the unintended impression that he’s out of ideas, or that he doesn’t stand strongly by his own ideas. It’s a weak thing to say and do and this country needs, moreover this country LOVES, a supremely confident, aggressive leader. It’s the American zeitgeist!
Obama has needed to be fiercely aggressive in promoting the notion that his ideas are what will work for the country, that a majority of Americans voted for him because they liked his ideas and believed that his ideas would bring badly-needed change. He has to do everything in his power to push his ideas through the system and to get them enacted.
One of the reasons why the GOP’s unprecedented obstructionism has not been thoroughly exposed for the destructive, politically selfish, unpatriotic movement that it’s been is because Obama doesn’t face it head on. It’s physics. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction. He HAS to take the opposing action, but he doesn’t attack the obstructionism relentlessly, doesn’t point it out in every single public statement he makes, because he’s more afraid of seeming partisan than he is confident enough in his own platform to stand by it and assert it with every fiber of his being.
That’s what it takes. That’s real leadership. He’s failed.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.