Barack Obama is the most sensitive, thin-skinned president ever — and it is now shaping his leadership decisions.
He rails against those who dare critique him and shifts into a “blame Bush, the Republicans, and anyone else but me” mode.
This is un-presidential, and it is hurting him, even among his supporters.
Politics “ain’t beanbag” and you have to have a thick skin to survive. That is not to say you ever have to like the criticism; you don’t. But you cannot show your critics that their criticism is getting to you.
President Obama often invoked the “transitional” presidency of Ronald Reagan during his own 2008 campaign. Obama was and is right to use Reagan as an example on many levels. Coming off LBJ and Vietnam, followed by Nixon and Watergate and then the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter, the office of the president of the United States was itself under assault when Reagan arrived in the Oval Office in 1981.
The White House Press Corps, led by the hype-aggressive Sam Donaldson, loved tearing presidencies down.
But Ronald Reagan had been in the public eye for five decades and knew how to handle criticism. He just chuckled and said, “Gee, Sam, you don’t really believe that, do you?” All done with a twinkle in his eye and a gentle smile — and performed in a way to disarm the critic.
No Nixonian anger or pledge to “get” the critic. No promise of retribution. And no blame, either. Instead, a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor.
Obama should watch some video tapes of President Reagan (what a shame we have a president who has to learn so much on the job as he was clearly not ready for prime time when the Left picked him.) But in order for him to survive for the next 2 ½ years, he needs to toughen up and learn how to be president.
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