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Actually Jason, Obama Is Short on Drama

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Nice try Jason. And wonderfully pyrotechnic (if not pornographic) prose as usual. But alas, this time you're pretty much 180 degrees wrong, notwithstanding your informal survey of C-SPAN caller musings. Emotion is key to effective leadership, and lately Obama is coming up short.

The job of President is not just to run the country. The job of President is to lead the country. That means when exceptional things happen, and people all across the nation are jumping up and down -- for joy, or mad as hell -- it is the job of a leader to give voice to people's sentiments, to acknowledge and yes to validate feelings, to tell our story. When times get dramatic, good leadership reflects that, at least in tone.

If that sounds like just so much hooey, I could take you on a tour of the research on this. (Yes, there is plenty more and better data on this than yesterday morning's C-SPAN.) But for the sake of time, just ask yourself: was Winston Churchill one of history's more effective leaders, or just a B-grade bloviator? If Martin Luther King had had his "I Have A Dream" speech delivered for him by Ben Stein, would we remember it today? Better yet, consider this: If emotion did not matter, there never would have been a President Bush -- first or second. Because this would have been a great debate answer (rather than one of the most disastrous debate answers of all time).

Pollsters' anger-meters are running in the red for a reason. People do not feel like the urgency of their circumstances is being reflected in the behavior of their leaders in Washington. True, when the press asks if Obama needs to "show more emotion," it sounds like they're suggesting he should cry like an infant, and that's not what a crisis calls for. What they mean is that he should show determination, focus, to convey that he is going to exert every bit of effort to get this fixed until it is fixed. And yes, a little more time spent with and empathy shown for the folks on the front lines of this would not hurt either. This isn't quite cuttin' it.

Yes, I too often find Maureen Dowd irritating. But this time she's right.

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