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Back in August, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer raised a question: Could President Obama?s failure to cozy up to billionaires cost him the election? That question is still on the table.
Mayer reported how fundraising has always been uncomfortable for Obama, how even asking rich Democrats for donations made him squirm or withdraw. Even though his administration has not been difficult for the one percent, they find the threat of the loss once and for all of the Bush tax cuts intolerable. Beyond that, they?d like a more solicitous president, and in Mitt Romney, they?d have their man.
The New Yorker?s follow-up to Mayer?s question came in a piece by Chrystia Freeland in its October 8 issue, ?Super-rich Irony,? about how Bronx-born hedge-fund operator Leon Cooperman took offense at the failure of the president and his girls to send proper thank you notes for a self-published books of his granddaughter?s poetry that he dropped off as gifts.
Cooperman responded with ads in major newspapers castigating the president in and ?open letter? which vents all his frustration with Obama and his policies. You can read it here. http://www.gurufocus.com/news/154371/leon-cooperman-open-letter-to-president-obama Or not. (He doesn?t mention the thank-you notes.)
Let?s face it, Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.
He?s an enthusiastic campaigner, but he?s not a glad-hander. Ingratiation might make him a better politician, but I argue it doesn?t make him a better president. Obama might even be, as Maureen Dowd has accused, an introvert. He?s self-reflective, takes the long view. He even likes to eat in private, something some supporters find off-putting.
Hurricane Sandy, as those slick tv reporters keep reminding us, seems made to order for Obama. It gives him a genuine task to perform. It demonstrates our nation?s need for federal support in the face of large disasters. And subliminally, I suspect, it reminds us of a previous hurricane handled so contemptibly by a previous Republican administration. (It didn?t hurt that Brownie did such a great job of criticizing the president for reacting too soon, although I suspect that was intended as an under-the-radar message to the right wing.)
In the first debate Obama lost the opportunity to defend his outstanding performance and lay out his vision in opposition to Romney?s. From what little I know of political consultants, he was probably advised to ?play it safe? and appear above the fray, something that has served him poorly throughout his presidency. Although I am exhausted of hearing that anyone could be undecided with such a clear choice ahead of us, we have an electorate that tunes out as long as government hums along. And maybe, like me, people are becoming inured to the drone of talking heads, angry or falsely cheerful. What some see as Obama?s disdain might be his irrepressible acknowledgement that he?s taking part in an outrageous ?reality? show that has little to do with getting his job done.
Now that his mission is clear, the rest is up to us to re-elect him.