Each passing event makes clear the president of the United States is a reflective man. He does not function on the basis of gut reactions, but empowers his mind to analyze and analyze and analyze. Barack Obama must explore every nuance of a situation prior to action. His mind is that of a college professor who fears if a point is missed or has not been subjected to intellectual processes, then he stands apart from the intellectual community.
A college professor’s mind fits into the world of academia or he will not remain part of that community for long. If one remains an academic, it is necessary to remain within the boundaries of discourse on any topic. A mistake subjects the individual to be the subject of critics who await in darkened corridors of the university seeking to uncover a errors in thinking or writing. College professors write learned tomes which are critically analyzed by members of the academic community in hope of discovering a missed comma. In a sense, professors write and think from a defensive posture, the goal being to defend thinking from attacks by colleagues. It is the assumption of academics that only academics(those with a PH.D) are qualified to discuss something written by an academic.
It is difficult to cite a single example of anything written or said by a college professor in America during the past fifty years which has influenced the thinking or actions of Americans. A normal American pays greater attention to the rambling ignorance of Tea Party stalwarts such as Michele Bachmman than to what professors think about anything. A long time has passed since a John Dewey or Jerome Bruner compelled people to rethink ideas on education. Americans simply do not pay attention to the ideas of those who dwell in halls of ivy. It is intellectually difficult for Barack Obama to conceive he must explain actions or thinking to those without proper academic credentials. If you want to discuss his health care plan, read the 20,000 pages.
During World War II, the famous General George Patton’s favorite expression was: “l’audace, toujours l’audace.” In other words, if there is a slight opening in enemy lines, send hundreds of tanks zooming through it and don’t reflect, just go and let the future emerge from the decision. Barack Obama has never done anything that is audacious, he only functions from his brain, not his guts. In the early days of the New Deal, Harry Hopkins, who was an aide to President Franklin Roosevelt, recalled speaking with the president about the new Works Project Administration which provided jobs for the unemployed. As he was leaving the room, Hopkins turned and asked: “Mr. President, what about artists and writers, are they to be included?” The president threw back his head and said, “throw them in, Harry, throw them in.” And, in so doing he changed American culture. Barack Obama could never take such a gamble.
Recent events in Libya illustrate the cautious, deliberate method of approach used by the president. A leader takes chances, a leader knows when to risk, Barack Obama never met a risk he would risk taking. Imagine if he had confronted Republicans and Fox News last year in a determined battle of minds, would Republicans have scored so many electoral victories in November?
L’audace, toujours, l’audace” is what we need in a leader.