When the Shade Snaps Up
Admitting that he'd made a mistake, and what kind of mistake he'd made -- and not retracting it or spinning it -- was the most important leadership lesson on Obama's part.
Politics is so scripted and choreographed today that most Americans are especially attuned to what I think of as "the moment the window shade snaps up." It's that brief and usually uninvited and unwanted glimpse of what a politician is really thinking, and whether their back stage self is the same as their on stage self. And we think: "So, that's what he's really like!"
Just we are accustomed to the choreography, we expect the reaction to be one of pulling the shade back down again. But instead of rushing to pull the shade down he left it open - even at the risk of extending a distracting story - so that we could all see the now iconic image of reasonable people who disagree sitting down to discuss their differences.
Obama chose the more human and authentic course, one anyone can relate to because we've all said things that, while we meant them when said, turned out to be awkward and not be helpful. It's the kind of honest and nuanced response that parents try to teach their kids. It's not a bad lesson for the nation either.
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