A Hat tip to George Stephanopoulos for an excellent interview of President Obama.
In what was a frank and sometimes tough interview of sitting President Barack Obama, it is possible to get a renewed view of the president. He comes across humble, perceptive, and shows a true spirit of bipartisanship.
OBAMA: … here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country. The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated.
Admitting that he was elected not just for his politics and ideas, but because of the frustration of the general American public shows that his ego is in check. It also shows that he understands that the American People want actual results, not just the political rhetoric of change.
OBAMA: Well, here’s , here’s one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table. The Senate certainly shouldn’t try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated. People in Massachusetts spoke. He’s got to be part of that process.
By telling fellow Democrats to wait for the seating of Scott Brown as the new Senator of Massachusetts, Obama is demonstrating his respect for the electoral process and his inclusiveness of all elected officials regardless of party affiliation.
This is a demonstration of a true spirit of Bipartisanship. The debates in the Congress are the meat grinder of policy, and by design have less of an air of bipartisanship, and that is as it should be. Debate and ideological disagreement, resulting in political compromise is crucial to hammer out what should be the best programs for the greatest number of Americans.
Finally, and assesment from the president on his failures.
OBAMA: What I haven’t been able to do yet — and this was what I was hired to do — is to close the gap between the values of the American people and the values of Washington, and the values of Wall Street. The values of our big institutions.
These values — the American people’s values are sound. They’re right. You know, people take responsibility for their lives, they work hard. They’re doing right by their families. Our institutions aren’t matching up to those values. And my job over the course of this year has been to see A, if we can just solve the immediate crisis. But now I’ve got to spend a lot more time just focused on how do we get those things to align.
And, you know, If there’s one thing that I regret this year, is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us, that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values. And that I do think is a mistake of mine. I think the assumption was, if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on the, you know this provision, or that law, or are we making a good, rational decision here —
It is nice to hear the president share some of his failings – showing his humility. Numerous times in this interview he mentioned all the things that were too low on his priority list, or that he wasn’t able to get to. He made several mentions that much of what he dealt with was not of his choosing, it was chosen by circumstances. Although he didn’t specifically state it, it seems as though he has a healthy understanding that US Presidents, and world leaders in general are often defined by events happen to them, rather than by what they attempt to do. Franklin D Roosevelt may not have been as dynamic and memorable if it wasn’t for the great depression and World War II. Abraham Lincoln would not have given the Gettysburg address, were it not for the civil war, and President George W. Bush’s presidency would have been completely different if it weren’t for the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Check out a clip of the Interview Video from George Stephanopoulos’ website.