Is President Obama a Nice Guy?

This world of ours seems to be divided into two types of people: not "male" and "female," but "nice" and "not nice." As we go through life, we all too often seem to evaluate everyone we meet according to this standard.

In the hilarious Mel Brooks Western satire Blazing Saddles, after only one long night of romancing, Lili Von Shtupp falls head over heels for Sheriff Bart. Later, she refers to him by saying, "What a nice guy."

In Man of La Mancha, Sancho Panza follows Don Quixote from one misfortune to another. Why would he do such a thing? He explains, "I like him."

This leads directly to a political dilemma today. Too many Americans took and failed Obama's "Lili Von Shtupp test." After a yearlong night of political romancing, they became permanently convinced that Barack Obama is a "nice guy." Because they think of him as a nice guy, they like him, and like Sancho Panza, they follow him around from catastrophe to catastrophe, giving him a free pass.

Dividing the "nice people" from the "not so nice people" seems particularly important today when it comes to celebrities, because we ordinary folks are so jealous of their fame and fortune. For this reason, it is very important for us to know if they consider themselves better than us -- a definite "not nice person" trait.

Our preoccupation with whether certain famous people are "nice" or "not nice" can become a full-time obsession. Sometimes we have to let the "little things" help us make up our minds. For instance:

  • John McCain has been spotted losing his temper, so he is "not nice."
  • John Edwards used to be "nice" until it was found out that he cheated on his wife, a forgivable wandering these days -- but not if your wife has cancer, so he is "not nice."
  • Many baseball players have taken steroids and are still "nice." But Jose Canseco had the audacity to blow the whistle on his fellow players, so he is "not nice."
  • At a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got teary-eyed, so she is "nice."
  • Angelina and Brad have not only adopted children, they have adopted children from around the world, so they are "nice."
  • Just like an everyday person, Oprah Winfrey actually used a port-a-potty at the Obama victory party in Grant Park, Chicago, so she is "nice."

How many people have actually seen President Obama lose his temper, get teary-eyed, or enter a port-a-potty? Then how can we really know if President Obama is a "nice guy"? The truth is that we may never know. 

Leo Durocher, the famous New York Giants manager who back in 1951 led the Giants to one of the greatest comeback pennant victories ever, coined the phrase, "Nice guys finish last." Was "Leo the Lip" on to something? In World War II, General Omar Bradley was a likable man known as the "GI's General." General Patton, on the other hand, was an S.O.B. referred to as "Old Blood and Guts." Both were competent leaders, but the Nazis feared Patton.

This might be shocking to many, but I have come to the conclusion that whether or not President Obama is a "nice guy" is irrelevant to where he is taking our nation. Americans need to start judging him on job performance, and he needs to start performing. The truth is that in hard times, Americans need competent leaders...and these are hard times.

When closing on a big sales deal, a salesperson knows it is important that his customer think of him as nice and likable. But the salesman also understands that if the product or service that he is selling is not good, "nice guy" or not, the likelihood of a future sale with that customer is low. A presidential candidate's campaign is like a salesperson closing on a big deal. After the election has been won, his presidency represents the deal itself. A good four years for the nation bodes well for his reelection, while a bad four years means no future sale.

So let President Obama's fans go on and on about what a "nice guy" our president is, and let his critics point out he is really "not nice" because he has so many "not nice" friends. The important thing is that so far, this presidency has been less than stellar and beyond sugarcoating. Should it continue as is or slide, come the 2012 election, the majority of American voters will no doubt be saying to themselves in their voting booths, "'Nice guy' or not, I'm voting Republican."
This world of ours seems to be divided into two types of people: not "male" and "female," but "nice" and "not nice." As we go through life, we all too often seem to evaluate everyone we meet according to this standard.

In the hilarious Mel Brooks Western satire Blazing Saddles, after only one long night of romancing, Lili Von Shtupp falls head over heels for Sheriff Bart. Later, she refers to him by saying, "What a nice guy."

In Man of La Mancha, Sancho Panza follows Don Quixote from one misfortune to another. Why would he do such a thing? He explains, "I like him."

This leads directly to a political dilemma today. Too many Americans took and failed Obama's "Lili Von Shtupp test." After a yearlong night of political romancing, they became permanently convinced that Barack Obama is a "nice guy." Because they think of him as a nice guy, they like him, and like Sancho Panza, they follow him around from catastrophe to catastrophe, giving him a free pass.

Dividing the "nice people" from the "not so nice people" seems particularly important today when it comes to celebrities, because we ordinary folks are so jealous of their fame and fortune. For this reason, it is very important for us to know if they consider themselves better than us -- a definite "not nice person" trait.

Our preoccupation with whether certain famous people are "nice" or "not nice" can become a full-time obsession. Sometimes we have to let the "little things" help us make up our minds. For instance:

  • John McCain has been spotted losing his temper, so he is "not nice."
  • John Edwards used to be "nice" until it was found out that he cheated on his wife, a forgivable wandering these days -- but not if your wife has cancer, so he is "not nice."
  • Many baseball players have taken steroids and are still "nice." But Jose Canseco had the audacity to blow the whistle on his fellow players, so he is "not nice."
  • At a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got teary-eyed, so she is "nice."
  • Angelina and Brad have not only adopted children, they have adopted children from around the world, so they are "nice."
  • Just like an everyday person, Oprah Winfrey actually used a port-a-potty at the Obama victory party in Grant Park, Chicago, so she is "nice."

How many people have actually seen President Obama lose his temper, get teary-eyed, or enter a port-a-potty? Then how can we really know if President Obama is a "nice guy"? The truth is that we may never know. 

Leo Durocher, the famous New York Giants manager who back in 1951 led the Giants to one of the greatest comeback pennant victories ever, coined the phrase, "Nice guys finish last." Was "Leo the Lip" on to something? In World War II, General Omar Bradley was a likable man known as the "GI's General." General Patton, on the other hand, was an S.O.B. referred to as "Old Blood and Guts." Both were competent leaders, but the Nazis feared Patton.

This might be shocking to many, but I have come to the conclusion that whether or not President Obama is a "nice guy" is irrelevant to where he is taking our nation. Americans need to start judging him on job performance, and he needs to start performing. The truth is that in hard times, Americans need competent leaders...and these are hard times.

When closing on a big sales deal, a salesperson knows it is important that his customer think of him as nice and likable. But the salesman also understands that if the product or service that he is selling is not good, "nice guy" or not, the likelihood of a future sale with that customer is low. A presidential candidate's campaign is like a salesperson closing on a big deal. After the election has been won, his presidency represents the deal itself. A good four years for the nation bodes well for his reelection, while a bad four years means no future sale.

So let President Obama's fans go on and on about what a "nice guy" our president is, and let his critics point out he is really "not nice" because he has so many "not nice" friends. The important thing is that so far, this presidency has been less than stellar and beyond sugarcoating. Should it continue as is or slide, come the 2012 election, the majority of American voters will no doubt be saying to themselves in their voting booths, "'Nice guy' or not, I'm voting Republican."

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