While Nero Fiddled

Michael Gabor
With all the focus on bungled bailouts, ballooning deficits, corrupt or incompetent appointees, nationalization of private companies, the lack of promised administration transparency, verbal gaffes, and etiquette mishaps with foreign leaders, it's time to step back and consider all the things that President Obama  has successfully accomplished during his as yet brief presidency.

For starters, a political gamble: he was courageously able to decide upon a Portuguese Water Dog for First Pet, risking the ire of AKC factions that vehemently support other breeds.  Even more impressive, he has been able to more than triple his bowling score, from 37 to 129, since arriving at the White House.  Doubtless this required hours of diligent practice at the White House bowling alley.  But how can someone concentrate on bowling with all the Congressional blathering coming from C-Span on the wall mounted TV?  The mute button.

Our President has shown unparalleled leadership in getting people together for pick-up basketball games.  Lincoln might have been tall, but he never sank a jump shot.  And if Kim Jong-Il could ever be tricked (via a really smart version of Smart Diplomacy) into a free throw contest with the new Leader of the Free World, North Korea's nuclear program would be toast.

Finally, what other president in history has been more versatile on television?  From an ESPN sports commentator to Jay Leno's co-host on the Tonight Show, to occasionally getting around to acting like a president, Barack Obama is a Nielsen powerhouse.  What could be next?  A gig delivering million dollar checks for Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes?

It is difficult to compare modern leaders like Barack Obama with leaders of the past:  success can only be judged in the context of a particular time and circumstance.  Ancient emperors like Nero didn't have a bowling alley, cable television, or the NCAA tournament to keep them busy.  Colloseum Games on-demand or Circus Maximus pay-per-view just didn't exist.  But Nero got by just fine, excelling at music, blithely fiddling while Rome burned.
With all the focus on bungled bailouts, ballooning deficits, corrupt or incompetent appointees, nationalization of private companies, the lack of promised administration transparency, verbal gaffes, and etiquette mishaps with foreign leaders, it's time to step back and consider all the things that President Obama  has successfully accomplished during his as yet brief presidency.

For starters, a political gamble: he was courageously able to decide upon a Portuguese Water Dog for First Pet, risking the ire of AKC factions that vehemently support other breeds.  Even more impressive, he has been able to more than triple his bowling score, from 37 to 129, since arriving at the White House.  Doubtless this required hours of diligent practice at the White House bowling alley.  But how can someone concentrate on bowling with all the Congressional blathering coming from C-Span on the wall mounted TV?  The mute button.

Our President has shown unparalleled leadership in getting people together for pick-up basketball games.  Lincoln might have been tall, but he never sank a jump shot.  And if Kim Jong-Il could ever be tricked (via a really smart version of Smart Diplomacy) into a free throw contest with the new Leader of the Free World, North Korea's nuclear program would be toast.

Finally, what other president in history has been more versatile on television?  From an ESPN sports commentator to Jay Leno's co-host on the Tonight Show, to occasionally getting around to acting like a president, Barack Obama is a Nielsen powerhouse.  What could be next?  A gig delivering million dollar checks for Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes?

It is difficult to compare modern leaders like Barack Obama with leaders of the past:  success can only be judged in the context of a particular time and circumstance.  Ancient emperors like Nero didn't have a bowling alley, cable television, or the NCAA tournament to keep them busy.  Colloseum Games on-demand or Circus Maximus pay-per-view just didn't exist.  But Nero got by just fine, excelling at music, blithely fiddling while Rome burned.