Sunday, July 28, 2013

Interview with the President

This New York Times interview is really very good. Yes we need long term budget discipline, but now is not the time for aggressive cuts. The recovery is fragile, but we need to invest for the future, in research, education, infrastructure, manufacturing. We need to put some oomph into the economy, with selective job-increasing, economy and productivity enhancing investments. The way to get the deficits down is to grow. We are doing that now - not strong growth - modest, but much better than Europe that has seen the austerity cuts go deeper than here.And what we need least of all is a "manufactured crisis" that is all about politics, and not about making the day to day lives of middle class families better.

What for me is most remarkable about the interview is the tone, the balance, the refusal to sling darts against the GOP opposition every time he is given a chance (which was often), and the reasonable, unflappable responses to questions from the reporters about how and why he screwed up in this situation and that. The President has been channeling Gandhi, perhaps King, in his non-violent responses to political attacks. Conservatives will say I'm nuts, but I'm pretty sure the public agrees with me: our President has been unfailingly thoughtful, gracious, unprickly and generous in his response to the unceasing GOP venom.

Do you know how hard that is? The attacks are personal, direct, vindictive and relentless. Staying calm, receptive, poised when the incoming fire is really designed to cripple you, to take you out of the play - this is a true Master's capacity, achieved rarely in the real world. And don't tell me that he was born this way, with a genetic predisposition to equanimity. 19th Century Continentals would have called this a "phlegmatic disposition". That's just not who this guy is. I'm a life coach. This is the work I do - coaching people who want to develop their leadership capacities. One of the key qualities awake leaders try to develop is centeredness, quiet and calm at the center of one's being, so that we can stand quiet when all around us is falling apart.

Yes, some people are born with a predisposition to quietness, introspection, and a positive outlook. But if you can wind up into powerful, emotional, preacher-like cadence, as you rally the troops to share your vision, you are too close to the fire to be "phlegmatic", or just naturally calm. Fire and cool - that's what our President has; and I guarantee you those qualities don't show up without a ton of personal, self-awareness work. Our President is a Master. I promise you. And we are truly blessed.

But back to the speech: being calm and collected does not mean you can't be sharp as a razor. Take this exchange on healthcare:

NYT: Polls this week have shown your health care law has lost support. What are you going to be doing to build support?

MR. OBAMA: We’re going to implement it.

And the reporter was left speechless, and moved on to the next question.

We are blessed, my friends. Truly blessed.

The GOP is angry. Its base is angry. Its leadership is angry. There are some (Senators McCain, Graham, Coburn and Rep. Cole) who see that the Government shutdown or debt default is disastrous. They will not carry the day. My predictions:

  • An immigration bill will not be signed this year.
  • Either the GOP will shut down the Government over the budget or they will take us up to the brink on the debt ceiling, possibly requiring the President to exercise his 14th Amendment powers to protect the country's national debt.
  • Based on the above taking place, the GOP will lose the House in 2014.
  • Obamacare will open on schedule. Many premiums will actually go down, especially after including the subsidies and tax credits. Employers will not dump large numbers of employees  into the Exchanges. And young people, largely due to the subsidies/credits making insurance affordable, will sign up. Obamacare, said simply, will work. Not without glitches, but it will work.
  • If all the above happens, we will mark this Fall as the denouement of the Republican Party.
I put the odds at 60%. This is the long game Obama has been playing for. The GOP has continuously underestimated this man.

As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman: "Big mistake."

1 comment:

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