There used to be an old comic strip called ‘Joe Palooka,” in which a character wandered through life with a dark cloud always hovering above his head. I sometimes wonder if President Obama is a modern manifestation of that character, just when he appears to have focused on one problem and is close to a solution, up pops another, and, with his luck, another and another. He appears fixed in life with a dark cloud that will never give way to long term sunshine. Unlike, his predecessor, George Bush, Barack Obama attempts to take responsibility for what happens during his watch, but something is lacking when he steps to the microphone and says, “the buck stops here.” Perhaps, it is his Harvard coolness or his inability to allow his emotions to burst out, but Americans hear his words but do not believe them.
In my youth during the Depression, the mayor of New York City was Fiorello LaGuardia, a man of about five foot four inches in height who was round and full of animation. Each Sunday, he had a radio show and anyone could ask questions. Sometimes, he would burst out with, “ladies and gentlemen, when I make a mistake, it’s a beaut.” The audience never doubted his words because they came from his heart and he was not attempting to do anything political, he just wanted the world to know, he had goofed once again. Barack Obama would learn a great deal about politics by listening to our former mayor. In a solid Democratic city, he ran as a Republican and got elected. We loved him, we enjoyed his spontaneous outbursts of emotion and passion.
Barack, loosen up, let your emotions be on display without any planning. Just be who you are with friends and family. And, when you goof, let the world know YOU KNOW YOU LOUSED UP!
Let me conclude with my favor story about our mayor who we affectionately called, “the little flower.” One day a little girl wrote him that her dad drank up his weekly paycheck. The mayor told the girl, just leave it to him. He then spoke on air to the father and said: ‘look, you bum, you will not be drinking up your paycheck because there will be two Irish cops with you when you pick up the check and they will walk you home, you bum!!”
Barack, PASSION, PASSION, TOUJOURS PASSION. That is an important secret of American politics you have never learned.