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Why Won't Obama "Lead"?

By The Reverend Published: November 3, 2013

All politicians speak in coded language at times....but Republican politicians, and their media servants, use coded language much more frequently than Democratic politicians.

The reason that is the case is simple. Republican policies are unpopular with the American electorate. Conservatives and Republicans will disagree with that statement, but that doesn't matter because it's still true. On virtually every major issue....cutting entitlements, confronting climate change, immigration reform, gay rights, raising taxes on the wealthy, gun regulations and so forth....Americans favor the Democratic approach and reject the Republican approach.

So, Republicans resort to using coded language to couch their unpopular policies. The following three examples demonstrate how Republicans use the word "leadership" as code for something else....

Gov. Bobby Jindal on the sequester....

"I think the president needs to show leadership," Jindal told reporters outside the White House following the National Governors Association's morning meeting with Obama. "The president needs to stop campaigning, stop trying to scare the American people, stop trying to scare states."

Gov. John Kasich on the economy....

“There’s just no substitute for leadership from the President of the United States,” said Kasich as he delivered the Republican weekly address. “It’s my hope President Obama will listen to the people and partner with Republicans to get our economy back to creating jobs and producing growth.”

Republican-leaning LA. Times piece....

Although most Americans oppose the GOP's shutdown strategy, for the good of the nation President Obama needs to show a leader's courage and take ideas from his opposition.

It's true that Obama is criticized often for not "leading", "showing leadership",.....and he is mocked for "leading from behind" on specific foreign policy issues. But what are conservatives and Republicans really saying when they constantly berate Obama for "failed leadership"?

Columnist E.J. Dionne knows....

“A lot of times, though, when people say the president should lead, what they want him to do is adopt Republican positions and then push for those,” Dionne explained. “That’s not leadership, that’s capitulation.”


To Villagers, and to all Republicans, "leadership" means caving to the minority party's wishes. Words in the Information Age version of politics don't mean what they normally mean. In a modern age where scorched earth, backwards and anti-scientific policies are adored by the minority and rejected by the majority...."leadership" is code for 'doing what the minority wants.'

This dynamic tracks nicely with our least productive Congress in all of American history. The reason often given for why it is that Congress won't function is that Obama just hasn't shown enough "leadership." If only Obama would "lead", Congress could get something done.

Translation: If Obama would just accept minority policies, all things congressional would function normally.

Our 21st century American political discourse is full of subtleties, nuances.... mandatory, yet medically unnecessary, trans-vaginal untrasounds.....equal...."protecting the health of women seeking an abortion". Strict new voter ID laws which suppress Democratic votes....equal..... "defending and protecting the integrity of the vote". We're oh-so-sophisticated now, dontchaknow.

Voters have to keep up during these increasingly deceptive political times.

So, the next time you hear GOP squawkers, squawking about Obama's "failed leadership"...just quickly do the translation in your head. Corporate media, who basically detest us commoners, and Republicans, who want to shred the safety net, and make life worse for those same commoners while lowering taxes on the rich.....are really telling media audiences that the twice-elected-by-a- majority president is failing to "lead" because he won't capitulate to what the minority desires.

That's the conservative version of how a democratic republic is supposed to function.....that is, until Democrats are in the minority. Then, all definitions of words...change again.



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