Rep Dennis Cardozo (D-CA) published some unkind words comparing President Obama to college professors. He starts off by saying that he doesn’t want to disparage college professors:
Let me be clear — I’m not trying to disparage professors. But anyone who wonders why the president is not crushing the weak Republican field only needs to examine how President Obama has behaved more like Professor Obama:
And then he goes on to disparage both college professors and the President.
For one thing, both college professors and the President apparently have “Idea Disease,” which Rep. Cardozo defines as such:
Every week, and sometimes almost every day, the administration rolled out a new program for the country. There was no obvious prioritization and, after the rollout, very little effort to actually pass the latest idea/imperative/plan/edict. Instead, the new programs just kept coming, with the new proposals constantly stepping on the previous day’s message.
Obama’s rule has also been characterized by “teaching moments:”
Early in his administration, President/Professor Obama repeatedly referred to “teaching moments.” He would admonish staff, members of Congress and the public, in speeches and in private, about what they could learn from him. Rather than the ideological or corrupt “I’m above the law” attitudes of some past administrations, President Obama projected an arrogant “I’m right, you’re wrong” demeanor that alienated many potential allies.
Apparently, Rep. Cardozo believes that both the President and professors like to speak down to their audiences, sharing their infinite wisdom and insights.
The President (and professors, by association, I guess), also don’t listen very much to ordinary people:
One former administration official told me directly that the people in the White House “NEVER TALK TO REAL PEOPLE.” Another former Obama staffer confided to me that it was clear to him that the president didn’t mind giving speeches (lectures), but really avoided personal contact with members of Congress and folks outside the Beltway. “He doesn’t seem to derive energy from spending time with regular people the way Clinton did. He rallies to give speeches for the big crowds, but avoids individual contact,” the former staffer recalled. This “arms-length” attitude extends to top decision-makers in the president’s administration.
I don’t know what the President is thinking and my life is sufficiently complete to where I don’t feel a compelling need to know what he is thinking. I’m not sure where Representative Cardozo went to college, but good educators do not behave this way.
Good educators don’t get “idea disease.” We study the important principles, but we also learn how to apply them to the real world.
Good educators don’t lecture about “teaching moments.” We try to approach the world with curiosity and humility. We want to understand how the world works, and we accept that there is always more for us to learn about our disciplines. That is why we conduct research.
Good educators listen. We know our students and our colleagues. We pay attention to them, and we try to understand their needs.
So with all due respect to Rep. Cardozo, Pres. Barack Obama is no professor, and if he were a professor, I don’t think he would make a very good professor. If you want to see what an academic can do in the White House, one from New Jersey, no less, check out Woodrow Wilson.
Thanks, NF for the heads-up on this article.