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Susan Estrich
8 Oct 2014
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Mr. Cool

Comment

He might be nervous and insecure. After all, he's got the biggest, hardest job in the world. It's not like he's been preparing for it all his life; nine years ago he was commuting between Chicago and Springfield, Ill. It's not like he inherited peace and prosperity; he inherited recession, misery and war. It's not like there are any easy victories; getting us out of the various messes we find ourselves in will, at best, be a long, painful and uneven journey.

New presidents almost always make mistakes, some big — Bay of Pigs — some just embarrassing — the White House Travel Office. This president has already made a few, like Jay Leno's show, the delayed reaction on the AIG bonuses and, if you ask me, all the back and forth with Rush Limbaugh. But he hardly seems fazed by it.

Maybe the most impressive thing about this president, who is, of course, very smart, articulate and well-spoken, is just how cool he is.

I don't mean cool in the teenage sense of fist bumps or style or whatever. I mean cool in the grownup sense of being disciplined and projecting confidence. I mean cool in the sense of a person who is challenged but not overwhelmed, who looks bigger in the big job, not shrunken by it. President Barack Obama is in charge.

A president's job is to come up with policies, make decisions and get legislation passed. That part of the job obviously depends on things like ideology, judgment and competence. I don't know if Obama's budget is too big or not. I don't know if the CEO of GM was the problem. I don't know if raising taxes on the rich will help or hurt the economy.

The president has views on all of these things and has expressed them clearly and strongly.

Whether he's right or not may matter less than the clarity and strength part.

A country that is scared needs a president who isn't. A country that is unsure of the future needs a president who sees it clearly. A country that is fighting insecurity on every front — economic and personal, domestic and international — needs a president whose battles with insecurity seem to have ended decades ago.

Confidence and competence do not necessarily go hand in hand. There are, we all know, many people whose confidence exceeds their abilities, and probably even more who are far better at what they do than they themselves believe. For leaders, however, competence without confidence, or the ability to inspire confidence, doesn't get you very far. Knowing the right answer is not the hard part; getting others to believe it, act on it, put their faith in it, matters more.

Watching Michelle and Barack Obama getting off the plane on their first First Trip to Europe, the most striking thing about these two young people — and they are young and new to their roles — is just how comfortable they seem. Do they look around Air Force One and pinch each other? Do they drive up to the White House and ever wonder whether someone made a wrong turn? Do they realize how improbable and unlikely it is that any person, and certainly an African-American former state legislator who entered national politics eight years ago, would make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue so fast?

Maybe.

But in their new roles, they don't show it — to us or to the world. They're cool. Seeing them is almost enough to make you believe that soon the rest of us will be, as well. And how cool would that be?

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Comments

18 Comments | Post Comment
What are you smoking? Please tell me so I too can feel good about all these tax cheats and Chicago thugs running our country? Cool????
Comment: #1
Posted by: Will Gay
Wed Apr 1, 2009 10:08 AM
OK. So this guy can be leading us into a world depression, putting our grand children in debt, destroying the medical system the world comes to when extraordinary care is needed, put a cap on tax exempt charitable gifts, treat our old allies with disdain, create new "friendships" with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez, ignore HAMAS, North Korea, Russia, try to start a dialog with the more moderate wing of al Queida, raise the taxes on the producers, etc. but if he does it all with style and flamboyance with a little cockiness thrown in, it is really, really good. GEEEEZ.
Comment: #2
Posted by: JP
Wed Apr 1, 2009 4:04 PM
He is indeed cool. He's got a congress doing his bidding, or that of whoever is telling how to bid. I have this dreadful feeling that
Obama is not exactly the one making decisions. I suspect Rahmbo is the one telling him what to do and what to say, hence the
teleprompter. The man is a liar. And to trust anyone from the Chicago political machine is a foolish move. I keep hearing that he inherited all the bad stuff from the Bush administration. Bush inherited a recession from Clinton, and I never heard a word of
blame. 9/11 was handed to bush and he did the best he could to keep us safe ........... and succeeded quite nicely. During most
of his presidency our economy was excellent ............ low unemployment, everything moving along well, then the last two years
of his administration he had to deal with a Democratic congress. So did Obama inherit these terrible problems from Bush or from
the congress. After all, the primary source of our problems were the sub prime mortgages brought to us by Democrats, and very
carefully watched by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. This mortgage mess is the base of all of the financial problems around the world. Its time to stop blaming Bush, and deal with the problems and stop the outrageous spending. Leave health care and
education, and "paid volunteerism" alone.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Allen
Wed Apr 1, 2009 4:57 PM
You are completely nuts! The previous three posts are spot on!
Comment: #4
Posted by: Julie Melancon
Wed Apr 1, 2009 6:04 PM
C'mon Susan, I realize you do this for a living but you can't seriously believe any of this. I read your book "A Case for Hillary" and I don't believe for one second that you have any faith in this man, or even the slightest bit of respect. Don't sell yourself out like the rest of the media fools. Stand on your principles and write an article or a book about this guy and his gang who stole the election from the truely qualified candidate that YOU believed would be our next President, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Comment: #5
Posted by: MichL
Wed Apr 1, 2009 6:31 PM
I only wish he was half as cool as he thinks he is. He takes 500 people with him on this trip - chefs in case he wants a hamburger, someone to play basketball with him, someone to give him his nicorette! Give me a break, he is living the good life now. He doesn't care about taxes because apparently democrats don't ever pay them so they don't worry if they're too high. Why did he need 500 people to go with him? Just like in the campaign when he had 3000 advisors, he doesn't know what he's doing or saying unless he's told by teleprompter!!!
Comment: #6
Posted by: Sandra
Wed Apr 1, 2009 6:59 PM
THIS IS SO TYPICAL OF LIBERAL JOURNALISM! WHAT YOU ARE SEEMINGLY SO IMPRESSED WITH IS THEIR PERFECTED IMAGE! HIS COOL IS A MIRAGE, A STRATEGY, A STAGED WAY OF BEHAVING. JUST AS HOLLYWOOD PUTS IMAGES IN OUR MINDS, SO ARE THE OBAMA'S. AND WHY DO IMAGE OBSESSERS WORK SO TIRELESSLY ON HAVING THE PERFECT IMAGE? NARCISSISTIC EGO! I WOULD LIKE REAL PEOPLE IN THAT HOUSE, NOT MANUFACTURED. I DO NOT CARE IF MICHELLE OBAMA WANTS DESPERATELY TO BE SEEN IN THE SAME LEAGUE AS JACKIE KENNEDY AS FAR AS STYLE AND GRACE ARE CONCERNED, YOU CANNOT MANIPULATE THESE TRAITS, THEY ARE EITHER INNATE OR THEY ARE NOT AND DOING RIDICULOUS ATTENTION GRABBING THINGS LIKE WEARING SLEEVELESS DRESSES TO AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT , TO DINE WITH THE QUEEN ,IS FAR MORE HOLLYWOOD THAN ELEGANT . IT SCREAMS OF" I HAVENT GOT A CLUE ABOUT CLASS AND DECORUM" BEHAVIOR! JUST BECAUSE SHE NOW HAS A VIRTUAL TEAM TO SCRIPT HER APPREARANCE, SHE WANTS SO BADLY TO HAVE THOSE JACKIE O QUALITIES BUT CANT SEEM TO CONTROL THE INNER STARLETTE WHO IS JUST ALL ABOUT THE ATTENTION! THAT WILL NEVER BE CLASS, NOR GRACE, NOR COOL! ..............
Comment: #7
Posted by: i am not an idiot
Wed Apr 1, 2009 7:56 PM
Come on Susan. What you are calling cool is nothing more than being clueless. The man has no experience relative to the issues he is confronting. One can always be "cool" when they haven't a clue as to what the he** is going on.
Comment: #8
Posted by: RH
Wed Apr 1, 2009 9:23 PM
Ok, Susan. You may be right about Mr. Obama's coolness. But, when he was younger, he says that he was snorting coke and hanging with criminals and radicals. He really was cool, then. In fact, he may have perfected his cool walk and demeaner from studying the other cool people he hung out with. Let's see...the drug dealer that sold him the stuff was probably cool. too.
By the way, I guess gangsters and pimps are cool, also. They somehow know how to turn whose who come to depend on them from being rational people into chattle. You may know that pimps start their ladies out by letting them luxuriate in the easy life. Then, once they become dependent on the lavish handouts, they're turned out to prostitute themselves and become the vacuous, and immoral people that form an increasing portion of our modern culture.
I think it would be a good idea for us all to take care that we don't get pimped, don't you agree? But, for some, I fear it's probably too late.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Real E
Wed Apr 1, 2009 10:54 PM
Mr. Cool?! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!! HE NEEDS A TELEPROMPTER TO KEEP HIM FROM TELLING PEOPLE WHO HE REALLY IS AND WHAT HE _WANTS_ TO SAY!!!!

The NEW ONE-TERM PRESIDENT - BARNEY OSLIMEY!!!

Where will he put the signed portrait he received from the Queen of England? Where do you think the Ipod and DVDs went? HAHAHAHAHAHA
Comment: #10
Posted by: Kurt
Thu Apr 2, 2009 12:27 AM
Susan,
Please...Just say it: "I am in the tank for Obama"...Just like MSNBC (Obermann and Harlow) and CNN. Do us (the ones who can really use our brains) a favor, DON'T insult our intelligence like this! I didn't hear you talk about Pres. Bush like this. He had a tough job too! All you had for President Bush was contempt when you spoke about him on Fox News. I notice, you really don't mention anything about President Obamas ideas or political views??? I notice you don't point out any "real" weaknesses about the man and his ideas...He is "cool"???? We DON'T need a "COOL" President, we need a responsible one!
Comment: #11
Posted by: Mike Cochran
Thu Apr 2, 2009 4:26 AM
He reminds me of William J Lepetomane Governor in Blazing Saddles.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Steve in Baton Rouge
Thu Apr 2, 2009 5:34 AM
Cool? Have you taken a trip back to the 60s? Shed the rose colored glasses and take a good hard look at the man shredding the Constitution, a man who was supposedly teaching the subject in college and swore and oath to uphold it. Is it too hard to admit that all change is not good and he and his group are not the people to be doing it?
Comment: #13
Posted by: jbaugher
Thu Apr 2, 2009 5:37 AM
Susan:
You need to check your vocabulary. It's Mr. Confused, not Mr. Cool. You must be one of the media pundits who were mesmerized by this phony.
I attend meetings, luncheons; read comments on the internet, letters to the editors of newspapers, never has there been such ire, anger furor, disgust, displeasure expressed towards a President than that towards Barack Obama. Just read the responses to your column. In a few short weeks he has polarized the country, selected a team of tax dodgers, thieves & lackeys, unemployment has reached the highest level in our history, his stimulus program is a hoax, the economy is up & down, mostly down. Foreign policy under Secretary Clinton is abominable; her only contribution is her ridiculous statement that we are to blame for Mexico's problems. As for Mr. Cool, ask him about his campaign statement that we need to cut expenses then ferries 500 people, his limo, helicopter overseas or his previous jaunt out to California & using AF 1 to fly down to Willamsburg. Mr. Cool-, more like Mr. Liar.
You need to crawl out of your cave & see how the real world regards Barack Obama.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Pennsy
Thu Apr 2, 2009 2:11 PM
When I read Ms. Estrich's article this morning all that came to mind was...Seriously Susan, you don't believe this. To think we have at least 4 more years of this.
Comment: #15
Posted by: HH
Fri Apr 3, 2009 9:52 AM
"Whether he's right or not may matter less than the clarity and strength part". You mean it's okay if he's wrong as long as he's clear and strong? You can't possibly be serious.

And, by the way, I'm already cool. I don't need to take cues from anybody else.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Roxanna
Fri Apr 3, 2009 10:31 AM
Im not sure I can add much, but Susan.....seriously. Obama has been a disaster so far. He looks discouraged,disheveled & overwhelmed. Which I'm sure he is. We knew he had few qualifications and even less experience. What did we really think he could offer? He's broken more promises than Bernie Moddow.Lets face it, he gamed all of us. Now we all pay.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Brnrbr
Fri Apr 3, 2009 12:19 PM
Susan,
As you have said about our President, you are very articulate as well.
But I would really like for you to write a post about how it feels to watch our "cool" President (whom I respect, by the way) literally give away and dismantle two centuries of American sovereignty. And please include comments about how Americans should feel about our President agreeing to allow 19 other foreign countries to have more than just a say in the workings of our economic system. Imagine, one vote for America, 19 votes for socialist europe and communist China among others . . .
I am not being sarcastic; I would really like to hear an explanation of how these postitions are "good" for my children and grandchildren . . .
HJope to see that new article soon . . .
Comment: #18
Posted by: anoninnc
Sat Apr 4, 2009 6:57 PM
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