Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Too Much Obama?

President Obama has been in office for 2 weeks now and is already fighting an uphill battle with Congress and the American people on the economic stimulus/spending package, not to mention having at least three of his Cabinet level nominees hit with tax problems, causing two of them to step down. And in the last two weeks, it seems like President Obama has given more interviews than President Bush did in his entire eight-year tenure. But I wonder if Obama is swinging to the other extreme than Bush, making himself TOO seen. I appreciate the interviews that he did last night, admitting basically what was his mistake about not vetting his candidates properly, which is also something we heard too little of from the previous administration. But I think he has to be careful in being seen too much.

As Shakespeare wrote in Act 3, Scene 2 of Henry IV, Part One concerning the previous king Richard II
God pardon thee! yet let me wonder, Harry,
At thy affections, which do hold a wing
Quite from the flight of all thy ancestors.
Thy place in council thou hast rudely lost.
Which by thy younger brother is supplied,
And art almost an alien to the hearts
Of all the court and princes of my blood:
The hope and expectation of thy time
Is ruin'd, and the soul of every man
Prophetically doth forethink thy fall.
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men,
So stale and cheap to vulgar company,
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyal to possession
And left me in reputeless banishment,
A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.
By being seldom seen, I could not stir
But like a comet I was wonder'd at;
That men would tell their children 'This is he;'
Others would say 'Where, which is Bolingbroke?'
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dress'd myself in such humility
That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne'er seen but wonder'd at: and so my state,
Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast
And won by rareness such solemnity.
The skipping king, he ambled up and down
With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,
Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,
Mingled his royalty with capering fools,
Had his great name profaned with their scorns
And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative,
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoff'd himself to popularity;
That, being daily swallow'd by men's eyes,
They surfeited with honey and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little
More than a little is by much too much.
So when he had occasion to be seen,
He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
Heard, not regarded; seen, but with such eyes
As, sick and blunted with community,
Afford no extraordinary gaze,
Such as is bent on sun-like majesty
When it shines seldom in admiring eyes;
But rather drowzed and hung their eyelids down,
Slept in his face and render'd such aspect
As cloudy men use to their adversaries,
Being with his presence glutted, gorged and full.
And in that very line, Harry, standest thou;
For thou has lost thy princely privilege
With vile participation: not an eye
But is a-weary of thy common sight,
Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more;
Which now doth that I would not have it do,
Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.
And I know that probably won't mean much to many of you, but Henry is basically telling his son, Hal/Prince Henry that if you're TOO common, people won't respect you or the position. That's what happened to Richard, and while I welcome the openness that President Obama brings to the role of President, I hope that we don't get so used to seeing him that hearing from the President becomes habit rather than an important event.


Jim Voorhies said...

your English teacher is showing. :)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are looking at this the wrong way. He's not trying to be more common, he's just likes to be seen and heard. The world has praised him for his wonderfulness and it appears that he believes the hype.

Anonymous said...

Phil, I read this article today and it reminded me of your post.

Anonymous said...

Ooops, sorry I forgot to put my name. It's Ada again.

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