Taking a cue from his “top generals,” in her recent article in the New York Times Maureen Dowd likens President Obama to Cool Hand Luke, a role played by Paul Newman in Stuart Rosenberg’s movie of the same title. Then she goes on to mention Michael Corleone (played by Marlon Brando) in Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Godfather.”
But I humbly suggest that a more appropriate comparison would be found in John Ford’s movie, “The Quiet Man” (starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton — the quiet man). For “quiet” is largely what President Obama has been; more like a producer than a movie star, he has not been mouthing off like the typical politician, but he has been quietly and earnestly working behind the scenes to address arguably the largest slate of serious problems the U.S. has had to face since the Great Depression. And while those of us watching quietly and objectively from the center have understood what he was doing, others from both the right and left extremes have been hypercritical, those on the left expressing disappointment with his relative silence and those on the right taking advantage of the silence to shout partisan bigotry to the rafters. And while Sean Thornton lived in Pittsburgh and Barack Obama never did, he has nevertheless expressed a high regard for this city on numerous occasions.
Political rants are not constructive. No business could survive — much less thrive — if its employees were constantly bickering. And in spite of the adamant and largely nonconstructive opposition from the right wing, President Obama’s diligent attention to his responsibilities to our nation as a whole have produced remarkable results where previous presidents have failed. And as a result of his labors, we are stronger today than we were when he took office. His repeated invitations to the political right wing for constructive input have been consistently rejected. It is time for those who were elected to serve our interests to get on board and perform or to join those who they’ve failed to serve in the unemployment lines.