Obama Has the Right Idea

August 1, 2009

by Gene Callahan

There has been a lot of commentary about Obama’s “beer summit” with Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley at the White House to discuss Crowley’s arrest of Gates. I must say that I admire Obama’s approach here, as I find it refreshingly Aristotelian: the right way to sort out conflicts like that between Gates and Crowley is to have a symposium and engage in reasonable discussion about the problem.

11 Responses to “Obama Has the Right Idea”

  1. Greg ransom Says:

    This was a photo op not a discussion.

    You can’t be this naive.

  2. Roger Koppl Says:

    Greg,

    I think Gene might have been a bit wry in his use of the word symposium, providing a link explaining the original meaning of the word. I think he was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. OTOH I suspect Gene recognized and sincerely wished to praise Obama for modeling the appropriate behavior in moments of racial tension. Obama’s beer summit said we should talk and listen more, shout and arrest less. I don’t deny he was also wriggling out of a PR problem caused by his famous “stupidly” comment, but I don’t think we need to be completely cynical in this case. We can praise Obama for the way he wriggled out of his PR problem.

  3. Mario Rizzo Says:

    I think Gene is a bit like the Delphic Oracle.

    I had the impression that this has something to do with his Irish background and a reference to the “peaceful” ways that the Irish have settled their disputes lubricated by a little alcohol.


  4. I would question Obama’s evident assumption that he can mediate disputes at a local level. If he actually swallows the beer, he’s going to be totally smashed drunk before he mediates all the problems in one single block of America. But of course he can’t get national-scale press by deferring to the constitutionally stipulated level of law.

    For this reason, I have imagined that I would have declined the invitation to the White House for a beer, had I been one of the parties to the dispute. My justification for the declination could get some free coverage, since it would be carried in some outlets along with news of my declination. But that would show that I value posturing before the national-scale media more than I value beer, which may be a grave error on my part.

  5. Gene Callahan Says:

    “OTOH I suspect Gene recognized and sincerely wished to praise Obama for modeling the appropriate behavior in moments of racial tension. Obama’s beer summit said we should talk and listen more, shout and arrest less.”

    Just so, Roger. Of course it was also a photo op, which is how modern politics proceeds, but it was a photo op highlighting a good practice.


  6. Obama’s PREjudice, his knee-jerk observationless, evidenceless accusation at Crowley was not very Aristotelian however. More from the rich dumbassist tradition.

  7. Greg Ransom Says:

    I know Obama has closely studied Alinsky.

    I have no idea whether he’s read Aristotle ..


  8. [...] comment on Gene’s recent post on the Beer Summit blasts “Obama’s PREjudice, his knee-jerk observationless, evidenceless [...]

  9. TJ Goss Says:

    I have not read enough of Gene Callahan’s writing to know if this post was satire or not, but I hope that it was. Mr. Obama’s use of a highly publicized meeting between He ,Biden , Gates and Crowley is another indication that we have somehow allowed the Presidency of the United to move very dramatically in the direction indicated by Gene Healy’s “The Cult of the Presidency”. He is somehow viewed as a paternal/maternal figure who solves our smallest personal problems. Mr. Obama thus moved a very local situation that should have been resolved at that level, to a national level where Mr. Obama acted out his King Solomon role. If there was a Aristotelian symposium necessary it certainly shouldn’t have included the President and Vice President of the United States.


  10. Dear Mr. Goss, your hopes are dashed.

  11. Mark Anderson Says:

    You really think they discussed ‘the problem’? Ok, wow…


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