A while back I wrote an article professing my belief that President Obama is simply too intelligent for Republicans to understand. It struck a chord, generating hundreds of thousands of Facebook shares and thousands of comments from people all across the world who wanted to weigh in.
The basic premise of my argument is that this president uses big-picture thinking while most Republicans seem unable to see past their noses. President Obama is methodical and calculated, while Republicans are emotional and reactionary.
The facts seem to back up my belief. Issues like climate change, the Affordable Care Act, and basic diplomacy all require the ability to see the bigger picture. Naturally, most Republicans oppose all three in favor of “drill baby drill,” the old status quo we had on health care, and war – all simplistic responses to complicated issues.
The bottom line is, President Obama’s leadership isn’t childish and that’s why many Republicans don’t understand it.
I believe that’s why I’ve seen so many members of the GOP claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “walked over President Obama.” What they really mean is that they wish this president acted like Putin because the Russian president behaves very similarly to many Republicans.
For example, when George W. Bush landed on that aircraft carrier back in 2003, I remember my conservative friends and family eating that ridiculous spectacle right up. That’s what they thought a “leader” should look like. Then there were all the videos and photos that were frequently posted showing Bush chopping wood, working out on his ranch like a “man’s man.” Because, you know, all of that was completely legitimate and not-at-all staged.
Wait a minute. Pre-planned spectacles specifically organized to make a leader appear strong, macho and manly – isn’t that basically what Putin does all the time? Heck, isn’t that what a lot of tyrants and insecure leaders do?
Because that’s the truth as to why leaders like Putin behave the way they do – they’re insecure.
Someone who’s truly secure about who they are as a leader, who’s operating from a position of strength, doesn’t feel the need to act out. They don’t feel the need to prove how “strong they are.” The more someone like Putin acts out, the more he proves how weak he actually is. If he was really operating from a position of power, he wouldn’t feel the need to “prove” anything. Make no mistake about it, a large part of what Putin obsesses about is trying to prove that he’s not as weak as he actually is.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at what sanctions against Russia have done to the nation’s economy.
But when it comes to President Obama, he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone like many Republicans seem to think leaders should. He’s a half-black male from a broken home who managed to graduate from Columbia – then Harvard Law, became a United States senator by the age of 44 and was elected President of the United States just three years later. There’s not a whole lot left that he hasn’t already “proved” to anyone.
Oh, and did I mention he’s in charge of the most powerful military machine the human race has ever seen?
Emotional, reactionary people “lead” from a position of weakness, not power. That’s exactly how Republicans “lead.”
Just look at the turmoil going on right now in Congress with the Speaker of the House position. It’s petty bickering, posturing and desperation. These aren’t strong leaders acting like adults, they’re spoiled siblings fighting with one another trying to get their own way.
When it’s all said and done, the fact that this president thinks before he acts is one of the biggest reasons why many Republicans don’t understand his policies. They want someone like Donald Trump, a simpleton who spouts off idiotic talking points about bombing Iran or building an unrealistic wall between Mexico and the United States while promising to deport 12 million people in around 18 months.
When I look at President Obama, I see a true leader. Someone who dictates his own calculated choices – not someone who lets others goad him into doing something he’s not prepared to do. And because he thinks before he acts – unlike many Republicans who like to act first, then ask questions later – most of his policies just flat-out go over their heads.