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  • President Obama Didn’t Change: We Did

    He learned to conspicuously be present and counted, but intentionally, never close – never intimate.

    President Obama hasn’t been wrong about his politics: we have. I’ll explain.

    Ever since President Obama captured lightening in a bottle: the exotic upbringing, the scary intelligence – the seemingly inherent reasonableness, liberals, independents and even some republicans, projected our strong desire to forget that George W. Bush was ever president, and that we deserved a sensible, smart  and globally attuned leader in the White House.

    Yet, the more we see President Obama operate, negotiate – it seems like we got something very different than we expected – I don’t know if it’s much less or much worse: or both. Liberals believed they were on the verge of a revolution, and instead they got a politician, which is not Obama’s fault – it’s ours.

    If you look closely at the early Obama narrative – it wasn’t about leadership – it was about “shape-shifting:” due to being raised as a black child in Kansas, Hawaii and Indonesia: President Obama learned to fit in within environments, where he was perceived as alien. His greatest strength was not that he learned to lead: his greatest strength was that he learned to look like the rest of the people wherever he lived – he learned to look safe and accommodating  – and he found tremendous equity in this paradigm, which became a lifestyle – which ultimately availed him the presidency of the United States.

    Why do I say this?

    Because, we thought we were getting a dynamic leader, but that’s not his skill-set: his strength is to lead from the center of whatever population he’s within –  the center of whoever’s got the power, not from the front and that’s important.  Obama’s real skill is learning to adapt the principles and positions of others, and somehow making those principles his own — and clandestinely becoming the person, who benefits more than anyone else by incorporating that position.

    But the presidency – demands leading from the front: demands that you have your own set of principles and positions – and this president hasn’t shown that type of resolve or belief. I believe this president hasn’t ever had to choose one side or the other: to have to lose the veneration of one party to appease another one – it’s not what his experiences built him to become — to do: it’s not what he was ever attracted to, because it was antithetical to him being fully-accepted within the environs he grew up, and this consciousness stayed with him — and progressives are bearing the brunt of that now.

    President Obama learned to hide in plain sight, gravitate to issues that were winning the day and make them his own, which is very different than someone being vehemently determined about their principles, positions and fighting like hell to see those things come to fruition.

    He is the ultimate shape-shifter: utilizing what he learned to conspicuously be present and counted, but quietly and intentionally remaining distant: never close – never intimate, because he never wants to be found out that much of what he’s doing is not for your benefit – it’s for his own. Shape-shifters look for ways to incorporate and exploit, but what Obama forgot, is that he was supposed to be an “operator,” not a leader: operators work from the center of all things, while leaders work from the front – and leaders become vulnerable, due to added exposure, which is exactly what Obama learned to inoculate himself from, while always growing up as different than everyone else. Somewhere along the way – Obama forgot who he truly was.

    So while liberals, myself included, scratch-our heads about the unnecessary genuflection to radical republicans — the over-negotiation of democratic priorities – we should remember that just because we needed him to be a certain kind of leader, that it’s very possible, he has never been that. It was our fault for projecting our fears and hopes on a man, who overly considers what others are thinking and think of him, but hasn’t really fleshed out his own positions, where he would be willing to fight for them — to lose over them.

    I don’t blame Obama, because it was our fault for only listening to what we wanted to hear, and for not hearing what he wasn’t saying.

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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