July 22, 2009

The Obama Psyche: Big Tent (Vs. Harry’s Tent)

We know Obama’s governing approach is based largely on welcoming almost everyone into the tent. That being the case, however, I’m wondering how much you think this is hard-wired into his personality (love thy neighbor as thyself?) versus how much it’s politically strategic.

I’m curious about this since there are times, observing Obama’s body language (particularly when that little frown and tightened jaw emerge) in which he more appears to be “suffering fools.” (It’s complicated, though, because this look can be as much due to other factors — such as what I also often feel in him is an impatience to get past the pomp/keep things going/make things happen — than about the situation or person at hand.)

Besides wanting to understand the Obama psyche better now that everyone is settling in, this question came to me after looking at the photo above posted two days ago, by itself, on the White House Flickr stream. The caption reads:

President Barack Obama meets with (from left) Senator Harry Reid, Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, LDS Church President Thomas Monson and Elder Dallin Oaks in the Oval Office, July 20, 2009. During the meeting they looked at a five volume geneology prepared by the Church’s Family History Committee.

The question is, do you think Obama is all that interested in reaching out to the LDS (as much as he’s intellectually curious about their geneology map, especially given his deep interest in his own geneology)? Or, is this just politics as usual, given that Reid, being a devout follower of the Church, as well as the highest politically-elected Mormon in the U.S. government, is more looking out for his own?

(image: Pete Souza. White House Flickr stream)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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