Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dad In Chief

I'm smitten. TBG is, too. We have a special little place in our hearts just for him. It's both a parental pride and a communal pride. We proud of him and we're proud of America and it's really nice to have our default position be something other than cynicism.

And we're not embarrassed nor are we hiding it. The Schnozz still has my first and only automotive political bumper sticker firmly affixed to its rear bumper. It's fading in the Arizona sunlight, but the red white and blue is still there. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm wearing my (possibly the most comfortable in the entire world) Obama t-shirt as I type.

All this is prelude to my rant on his press conference tonight. I can't get away from it - there is no way on God's green earth that President Bush could have/would have/had/has the intellectual chops to do what President Obama did tonight. He's not afraid to stop and listen and while his answers may be long, they are never long-winded. He asserted his Presidency without a smirk or a boast or a sneer. He said "I am the President" and he meant it. "This is my house, now," with a big laugh and then a rueful smile defused, for a moment, the horror that is Professor Henry Louis Gates and the Boston Police Department .It also sent a pointed statement of fact. When he didn't know he admitted it and then promised - "I'll have an answer for you" . And I believed him. He's the Dad In Chief.

Dads know that rules are good, no matter how much we may chafe at them. In his pitch for financial regulatory reform he spoke of how, "unconstrained, taking greater and greater risks" the financial markets and the players therein acted like children without any boundaries while bringing our economy to the brink of depression. In response to repeated demands that he tell America exactly what sacrifices each and every one of us, individually, in our location and with our particular condition will have to make and when in order to make his health care plan come true, he tried to avoid the bait and then, finally, said we couldn't have ice cream sundaes every single night. No matter how much we thought we needed them. The x-ray taken at the orthopedist's office on Tuesday will just have to suffice in the Physical Therapy Office on Wednesday. There's really no reason to repeat it, even if Medicare will pay.

Dads rein us in when we overreach- "..this kind of spending we just can't afford" - and cosset us when we are scared - "...fear of change..... the Devil I know is better than.....". They adopt our slang without really noticing it - the pause as he said "...a enormous..." and you know he doesn't misspeak that way and then you realize that he was about to say "a Ginormous..." and you just have to laugh. And Dads like it when you laugh at them that way. It makes them feel loved.

And listening to him, I feel a fatherly embrace. His cadence, the way he draws me in and out and teaches me something along the way, the fact that he expects me to be able to follow his ideas, and that he goes out of his way to insure that I do, his respect for the audience and for himself -- I have no problem leaving him in charge.

This is how I remember G'ma describing her reaction to FDR's Fireside Chats. We are living in exciting times, my friends. And if you don't agree, please please please don't tell me. I'm really liking this new, un-cynical-about-politics, me.

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