Obama's conflict avoidance

An interesting Bloomberg  article about the last minute budget negotiations: "President Barack Obama had finally reached his breaking point."

Obama doesn't seem to be very good at this.  As I read it I recalled a 2009 incident.  Francis Cardinal George, then chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops,  spoke about meeting Obama.  George reported it was an odd meeting.   Obama kept insisting that he and the Cardinal were in agreement on abortion. The Cardinal kept saying No, we are not. There was no need for any resolution at that meeting, but it was telling that Obama couldn't acknowledge a fundamental philosophical difference.  

Here is what Cardinal George had to say after his meeting. 

"It's hard to disagree with him because he'll always tell you he agrees with you," he said. "Maybe that's political. I think he sincerely wants to agree with you. You have to say, again and again, 'No, Mr. President, we don't agree (on abortion).' But we can agree on a lot, and we do, and that's why there is so much hope. I think we have to pray for him every day."

Cardinal George said he told the president he was concerned about his decision to rescind the Mexico City policy, which resulted in providing taxpayer money to fund abortion overseas.

"He said we weren't exporting abortion," the cardinal said. "I said, 'Yes we are.' He would say, 'I know I have to do certain things here. ... But be patient and you'll see the pattern will change.' I said, 'Mr. President, you've given us nothing but the wrong signals on this issue.' 

A discomfort with conflict may also be a reason Obama avoided faculty lunches at the University of Chicago Law School.  I had a boss who didn't like conflict and he would get visibly uncomfortable at some of the lunch meetings at the Chicago Bar Association at which the experts would go hammer and tongs over their opinions about this issue and that pending case.  I suspect the table talk at the faculty lunches takes much the same tone.     

The ebullient Obama taking a victory lap at the Lincoln Memorial in the aftermath of the budget deal is a case of making lemonade from the lemons, or even more so Obama's need to take credit for everything.  I think he was genuinely relieved to have one source of conflict resolved, at least for a while. 

Not being able to deal with conflict has to be the ultimate bummer of a personality trait for a POTUS.   No wonder he's made a political career of never meeting with Republicans.  
An interesting Bloomberg  article about the last minute budget negotiations: "President Barack Obama had finally reached his breaking point."

Obama doesn't seem to be very good at this.  As I read it I recalled a 2009 incident.  Francis Cardinal George, then chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops,  spoke about meeting Obama.  George reported it was an odd meeting.   Obama kept insisting that he and the Cardinal were in agreement on abortion. The Cardinal kept saying No, we are not. There was no need for any resolution at that meeting, but it was telling that Obama couldn't acknowledge a fundamental philosophical difference.  

Here is what Cardinal George had to say after his meeting. 

"It's hard to disagree with him because he'll always tell you he agrees with you," he said. "Maybe that's political. I think he sincerely wants to agree with you. You have to say, again and again, 'No, Mr. President, we don't agree (on abortion).' But we can agree on a lot, and we do, and that's why there is so much hope. I think we have to pray for him every day."

Cardinal George said he told the president he was concerned about his decision to rescind the Mexico City policy, which resulted in providing taxpayer money to fund abortion overseas.

"He said we weren't exporting abortion," the cardinal said. "I said, 'Yes we are.' He would say, 'I know I have to do certain things here. ... But be patient and you'll see the pattern will change.' I said, 'Mr. President, you've given us nothing but the wrong signals on this issue.' 

A discomfort with conflict may also be a reason Obama avoided faculty lunches at the University of Chicago Law School.  I had a boss who didn't like conflict and he would get visibly uncomfortable at some of the lunch meetings at the Chicago Bar Association at which the experts would go hammer and tongs over their opinions about this issue and that pending case.  I suspect the table talk at the faculty lunches takes much the same tone.     

The ebullient Obama taking a victory lap at the Lincoln Memorial in the aftermath of the budget deal is a case of making lemonade from the lemons, or even more so Obama's need to take credit for everything.  I think he was genuinely relieved to have one source of conflict resolved, at least for a while. 

Not being able to deal with conflict has to be the ultimate bummer of a personality trait for a POTUS.   No wonder he's made a political career of never meeting with Republicans.  

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