By Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail, November 4, 2010
Of all the challenges Mr. Obama must overcome if he is to win a second term in 2012 – from outmanoeuvring an emboldened GOP majority in the House to rebuilding bridges with a sulking business community – the biggest may be his unwavering confidence.
“Obama’s problem is that he is not insecure,” one Democratic member of Congress recently told The New York Times. “He always believes he is the smartest person in any room and never feels the sense of panic that makes a good politician run scared all the time.”
Let's start with the numbers: Clinton and Reagan may not have been hit with such a deep and profound kick in their first mid-term, if you count the numbers of representatives' seats lost. 52 is a very high number to lose and also to recover from.
However, let's look at a few more nummbers: this economic pain is far more deep and profound, and is not of the president's own making. He was the inheritor of the mess and while he may be tarred with the anger and contempt brush "for not doing enough," he does not deserve the "shellacking" he and his party took.
Furthermore, the stature of the presidency, after Dubya, was also in shreds. It lacked principle; it lacked foreign stature; it lacked moral compass; it had become a fight for many Americans just to hold their noses long enough to see a new future under a new and transformational leader.
For Obama to continue to project confidence is one of the most valid and also mose valliant strategies in his command; if the president does not have the confidence that the economy is going to recover, and that the American stature as a significant world power is also going to make a comeback, and that the tradition of American ingenuity and innovation and new industry will make a surge in the next few months and years, then who will have that confidence.
No Mr. Yakabuski, Mr. Obama's confidence is not his problem so much as his opponents' addiction to lies, lies and more lies.
Corrupting the public's mind that there are "death panels" in the health reform act is a lie;
Corrupting the public's mind that Obama has taken over the private sector with public funds is a lie;
Corrupting the public's mind that Obama's financial control measures was not needed, is a lie;
Corrupting the public's mind that Obama is not interested in restoring jobs to the millions who have lost them, is a blatant lie;
Corrupting the public's mind that Obama and Pelosi are interested only in their own personal careers is a lie;
Corrupting the public's mind that making the Bush tax cuts permanent for the rich is not going to add an additional $700 billion in borrowing is a blatant lie;
Corrupting the public's mind that "big government" and "big spending" are the most accurate descriptions of the first two years of Obama's administration, is quite simply another big lie.
And there are likely many more, that get down into the "ad hominum" type of misrepresenting the facts, on the part of the republicans. And Obama has consistently tried to avoid that kind of personal attack.
I have no idea if the president is, in fact, among the smartest people in any room; however, the American people are very fortunate to have one of the best trained and most disciplined minds of the last couple of decades in the White House, and his command of the files, if not of the public debate, is exemplary.
It is the confidence of the American people that is at risk and for the country and the world to lose that (albeit without the accompanying swagger in military terms) would be a tragedy of epic proportions.
And that confidence is not going to be restored on the backs of the kind of mindless dissembling that has characterized the republican party for the last two years, not to mention their deliberate "No" to every clause of every piece of legislation...another form of dissembling because "no" is not the nuanced position of the republican party on all of those clauses.
Seeking and retaining power is their sole motive.
Exposing that for what it is is the job of every American of all political stripes, including independent.