I’ve been listening to, and reading, a whole lot of criticism of Barack Obama the past few weeks.
Where the heck’s he been on the oil spill? Why isn’t he doing more? Where’s the leadership in his presidency already?
And I understand some of the anger, I do. When a major disaster like the oil spill in the Gulf happens, we immediately look for someone to blame. Someone, somewhere must’ve been able to stop this!
And in this case, yes, BP absolutely screwed up.
But I don’t really get the anger at Obama here. BP caused the spill. BP will be held responsible. I think people expect Obama to break out a magic wand or something. I understand the crying need for leadership in this country, especially after the eight years of incompetence from George W. Bush.
But what more would you have Obama do? Nobody knows how to stop the oil from spilling. Would Obama being down there every day, hollering and empathizing, be able to stop the animals from dying and the industry in the Gulf being choked off?
I feel like he’s on top of the situation, and he, and the rest of the smart people in his administration, are doing all they can.
It’s just that Obama isn’t flashy, and he doesn’t make grand gestures, and his talents and abilities aren’t easily captured in 30-second soundbites. And that frustrated a lot of people.
I’m not being very articulate here, I feel. Andrew Sullivan says it much, much better than me in this essay called “Getting Shit Done.”
***This one may only make sense to married people…
You know how there are certain couples that you and your spouse just click with? When the four of you hang out, everything is easy. The conversation flows, the laughs are long, and each of your strengths plays to theirs. It’s a pretty rare thing, I’ve found, to have that complete ease with two other people. It’s sort of like jazz, when four people are able to riff off each other so easily.
Happily, Julie and I got to hang out with our “perfect match” couple a few times last week. Jen and Greg live in Georgia and were down by the beach for the week. I love them and their two daughters, but we only get to see them about once a year, if that. Jen is wickedly funny, and very much like my wife in a lot of ways (she told Julie after meeting me for the first time, in 2003 “You’re going to marry that boy.”)
She’s always just a little bit harried and bothered by life’s frustrations, but never truly loses it. Greg has a dry sense of humor, is an excellent cook (he made us terrific scallops the other night), and is a genuinely good guy.
I’m not sure if I saw them more often, if I’d appreciate how well we mesh. But I probably would. It’s a special thing when you can be completely relaxed around good friends, you know?
Plus, you know, they love board games as much as we do.
***Finally, from the “World of Diminished Expectations” Dept., I saw this Sunday night on my way home from picking up takeout. It was on a marquee for a pizza joint:
“Happy Father’s Day. Free slice to any Dad with a child support payment stub.”
If that won’t induce a man to honor his obligations, nothing will!