Goodbye to a Good Guy, President
Time passes quickly.
So much happens in our lives in what seems like a blink of the eye.
Eight fleeting years ago, Barack Obama became the President of the United States.
The world viewed his election as historic for many reasons, not the least of which was that he was an African American.
He had emerged from the shadows and within a short time he had captured the imagination of the country.
His campaign was built around the slogan “yes we can.”
Like a lot of people, I didn’t know much about him and initially I had resented that he had defeated Hillary Clinton.
But, I was impressed by the enthusiasm of my daughter Katherine who had his image on her iPhone and she and her friends connected to him like a rock star.
On the very day he was sworn into office, I was shocked to learn that the Congressional Republican leaders got together for lunch and pledged to make Obama a “one-term” president.
As a political observer, I am proud of his service to our country.
One of the ways I measure the greatness of a president is how he or she acts in time of tragedy.
Could that person be a consoler-in-chief?
Could the country leader heal the wounds of the people who were hurting and find the right words to comfort them?
Franklin Roosevelt was great at it.
Bill Clinton excelled in those moments and you truly knew that he felt your pain.
George W. Bush did it on a rock pile at the World Trade Center site.
Barack Obama proved time and time again that he had the ability to calm the shattered nerves of a nation.
Imagine having the responsibility to console the families of the children who were killed in a Connecticut classroom.
How many politicians can you name who could deliver the right message?
I can’t think of any beyond Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
What national political figure can you imagine singing “Amazing Grace” at a memorial for the people brutally slaughtered in a Carolina church?
Who is our next consoler-in-chief?
I have always been mystified by some fairly successful people who would tell me they “hated” President Obama.
What a terrible word?
Was it racial, I wondered?
Was it bitter partisanship?
Was it the product of philosophical differences?
Or was it the product of some imaginary slight?
I know quite a few people who develop their dislike of politicians for some grievance that they can’t articulate.
Some hard heads blame the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Obama.
He didn’t start those wars and if anything he got stuck with them.
It is easy to second guess a president especially when you know nothing about military service.
Obama hates war but with the backing of his generals he did the best he could.
History will treat him a lot better than all the naysayers put together.
I am enjoying watching the Republican Congress squirm over how to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
How do you protect 20 million people from losing health care, especially when many of them voted for your party?
It takes no courage to vote to repeal Obamacare when you know that the Democratic president will veto it.
Now the Congress must face reality and it is painful.
David Gergen, a respected Republican figure who has served three presidents summed it up better than I can saying “Obama brought dignity and honor to the White House.”
The world will miss that quality as the new administration moves forward with its plans in the next four years.