With such a stressful occupation, Obama could use a hug
After the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, many people wondered why President Barack Obama performed so poorly. Was it the high altitude? Was it the fact that his 20th wedding anniversary fell on the same date? These theories only distract from the main reason that — in addition to the demands of a reelection — Obama has a pretty stressful job.
The thing about being the President of the United States is that everyone else knows how to do the job, but no one else actually wants to do it, because to do so requires running for president. And running for president in the 21st century is, quite frankly, awful. Everything you’ve ever done in your life is up for grabs and blown out of proportion.
Obama is learning this the hard way. In 2008, his assurances of hope and change left him unscathed by the cynical media. Huge expectations were placed on him. He was going to be this; he was going to do that. Granted, Obama only fed America’s infatuation with his blind optimism.
After four years, the sobering realization that hope and change have little swaying power over partisan discord has left many Americans frustrated with our political system and its leaders. The pervading negativity of the current presidential campaign only reinforces the cynicism of those political leaders. One can only wonder how the man at the top has handled this blistering campaign and his fall from invincibility.
He seems to be, by most accounts, an introvert. The same man who electrifies crowds of thousands has trouble cozying up to donors with fat wallets. While this trait can be a great quality in a leader, it can sometimes be self-defeating. He is not Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who can easily shake his Etch-a-Sketch — erasing a history of mudslinging through the Republican primaries — to win some votes. Obama is his own biggest critic, and with that comes a lot of unnecessary stress.
On Oct. 3, Obama stood at the University of Denver stressed with the challenges of a recession and the hectic schedule of a reelection. However, it wasn’t the external pressures that caused his listless performance. It was the stress he puts on himself. He has a mountain of troubles, but doesn’t seem to ask for anyone’s sympathies. His fatherless childhood shaped him into the untrusting, do-it-yourself man he is. It’s what’s gotten him here, but it’s also hurting him.
In a CNN/ORC International poll released on Aug. 26, 53 percent of likely voters felt that Obama cares about the needs of people compared to 39 percent for Romney. But how many of us truly care about our President and his well-being?
I feel sorry for him. He’s got it tough and it will probably get worse. In the meantime, the man could use a hug.