August 22, 2010

HE LIKES THE TITLE, NOT THE JOB:

Lighten up, Mr. President: Americans like their president to relish the job he’s been entrusted with (Jeff Jacoby, August 22, 2010, Boston Globe)

Peter Wehner, a former Bush aide and now a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, recalled recently Theodore Sorensen’s description of John F. Kennedy: “He liked the job, he thrived on its pressures.’’ Time and again, JFK quoted an ancient Greek definition of happiness: “It is full use of your powers along lines of excellence,’’ as he told reporters at one of his last press conferences. “I find, therefore, the presidency provides some happiness.’’ Despite everything life and the world’s biggest job threw at JFK, wrote Sorensen, “the gaiety and laughter within him never subsided.’’

Americans like their presidents to relish the job they’ve been entrusted with. It’s not an ideological thing. Politically, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were controversial and even polarizing, but both inspired — and continue to inspire — a deep and durable public affection. Is it just a coincidence that both exuded an irrepressible optimism about life and a sunny enthusiasm for the nation that elected them?

By contrast, you come across too often as irritable and self-pitying. It’s not attractive, and it’s not winning you the admiration of the American people. Lighten up, Mr. President. You’ve got the job of a lifetime. Enjoy it.


It's maybe the starkest contrast between him and W, who was obviously enjoying the job even when everyone hated him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2010 7:24 AM
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