The 21st century Woodrow Wilson?

The real President Obama: in reality a professor, not a populist. During his town hall meeting Feb. 9 in Elkhart, Indiana, he seemed to me quite halting and almost diffident at times in giving clear responses to “ordinary Americans'” questions.
On the other hand during his press conference that evening he was in great and commanding form, explaining in considerable detail his approaches to the complex problems the US faces. A very bright person, dealing with ideas, and at ease with what he clearly considered a bright audience. And actually trying to convince by force of argument, not just politicized verbiage. Refreshing, whatever one may think of the policies.
Hmmm. If only Prime Minister Harper, M.A., sometimes might be so, er, intellectual.
And, just in case Canadians think President Obama is a really fine multilateral fellow compared to President Bush, take a look at this.
Mark C.
Update: What a difference a day can make. Another town hall Feb. 10 at Fort Myers, FL. The president was much more sure-footed, fluent and convincing than at Elkhart; he was fully in command of both his message and demeanour–explainer-in-chief, with some common touch. Along with continuing minimal partisanship. Still much professor but also quite a bit of the populist.

10 thoughts on “The 21st century Woodrow Wilson?

  1. gord tulk says:

    Mark of course you know the the first half hour or more of the presser is very tightly scripted from who will get the questions in which order and who gets to sit where. And no doubt he has spent most of the weekend rehearsing his answers.
    And content-wise what he said was terrifying. The second (clearly staged) question was about iran. Hugh hewitt has a neat point counterpoint on BO’s answer over at his blog. I encourage you to read it.
    And something that annoys me is his constant head-swivelling. I suspect it is a sort of tick he has developed from the days and weeks of reading from a teleprompter…

  2. wilson says:

    There was something about Obama’s answers that gave me a sense, BO does not have a real good handle on economics.
    Maybe it’s because, when PMSH takes questions, one is left with no doubt he fully understands all sides of the issue.
    Obama, not so much, more a salesman, but that’s what got him the top job, selling himself.

  3. greenmamba says:

    I find him preachy in his repeated use of parables.
    I’m also sick of hearing about the “enormity” of the task …. I detest the bastardization of a previously useful word.
    Instead of saying ” the future” it’s always, “in the months and days and weeks and aeons ahead.”
    (I’m just a curmudgeon.)

  4. Alex VanderWoude says:

    Another Woodrow Wilson? Oh, goody. Maybe this century’s version, unlike the original, will be able to make the slide into fascism stick, and finally put a stake in the heart of the American Constitution.

  5. violet says:

    Harper does not rely on “uhs” and “ahs” to to get him through his speeches, nor is he as verbose as Obama. I am under the impression that Obama loves the sound of his own voice and likes to maintain the floor as long as he can. And by the way, aren’t we all sick of his repetitive talking points?

  6. greenmamba says:

    There’s been some information and analysis on the web that says Barama is using hypnosis (via NLP) and from what I know, I agree somewhat at least. He’s definitely more style than substance. I find it creepy.

  7. John Thacker says:

    “The real President Obama: in reality a professor, not a populist.”
    By temperament, perhaps. Yet he’s the one who called for “Buy American” from the stump when campaigning, and who proposed the “Patriot Corporation Act” when in the Senate. While ole’ populist Sen. McCain is the one with the (failed) amendment to strip “Buy American” from the stimulus bill, who’s opposed those provisions his whole career. (and which is why Obama attacked him on the trail with the “which country?” slur.)

  8. sam says:

    I am all for Obama implementing “Buy American” provisions. Also, abrogate NAFTA and all other free-trade treatises, and cancel any further trade talks.
    Then the world, including Canadians, who overwhelmingly supported Obama, will learn the full extent of the disaster.
    Here’s what our overlords, The Economist is now saying:
    “The big question is what America will do. At some moments in this crisis it has shown the way—by agreeing to supply dollars to countries that needed them, and by guaranteeing the contracts of European banks when it rescued a big insurer. But the “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus bill are alarmingly nationalistic. They would not even boost American employment in the short run, because—just as with Smoot-Hawley—the inevitable retaliation would destroy more jobs at exporting firms. And the political consequences would be far worse than the economic ones. They would send a disastrous signal to the rest of the world: the champion of open markets is going it alone.
    A time to act
    Barack Obama says that he doesn’t like “Buy American” (and the provisions have been softened in the Senate’s version of the stimulus plan). That’s good—but not enough. Mr Obama should veto the entire package unless they are removed.”
    Ha ha ha ha!
    Here’s their endorsement of Obama last fall:
    “Our main doubts about Mr Obama have to do with the damage a muddle-headed Democratic Congress might try to do to the economy. Despite the protectionist rhetoric that still sometimes seeps into his speeches, Mr Obama would not sponsor a China-bashing bill. But what happens if one appears out of Congress? Worryingly, he has a poor record of defying his party’s baronies, especially the unions. His advisers insist that Mr Obama is too clever to usher in a new age of over-regulation, that he will stop such nonsense getting out of Congress, that he is a political chameleon who would move to the centre in Washington. But the risk remains that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole.”
    The editors saw this coming, and endorsed him anyway. As if Obama is going to veto the Pork Bill tregardless of what’s in it.
    You wanted him, you got him.

  9. Bruce Rheinstein says:

    “The 21st century Woodrow Wilson?”
    That’s an interesting comparison, given that the “Progressive Era was … a time of vicious, state-sponsored racism,” and, Booker T. Washington wrote, while Wilson was President, that, “I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.”
    It was Wilson who drove blacks out of the Federal workforce, thus extending Jim Crow to its post-Civil War extreme.

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