Obama Takes Time to Think

Political Punch reports on a conversation between Barack Obama and Tory Leader David Cameron:

Seemingly unaware of an enormous fuzzy boom mike held by ABC News’ Eric Kerchner, the two chatted casually — and privately.

“You should be on the beach,” Cameron told Obama. “You need a break. Well, you need to be able to keep your head together.”

“You’ve got to refresh yourself,” agreed Obama.

“Do you have a break at all?” asked Cameron.

“I have not,” said Obama. “I am going to take a week in August. But I agree with you that somebody, somebody who had worked in the White House who — not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to the process —  said that, should we be successful, that actually the most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking. And the biggest mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have to be — ”

“These guys just chalk your diary up,” said Cameron, referring to a packed schedule.

“Right,” Obama said. “In 15 minute increments …”

“We call it the dentist’s waiting room,” Cameron said. “You have to scrap that because you’ve got to have time.”

“And, well, and you start making mistakes,” Obama said, “or you lose the big picture. Or you lose a sense of, I think you lose a feel– ”

“Your feeling,” interrupted Cameron. “And that is exactly what politics is all about. The judgment you bring to make decisions.”

“That’s exactly right,” Obama said. “And the truth is that we’ve got a bunch of smart people, I think, who know ten times more than we do about the specifics of the topics. And so if what you’re trying to do is micromanage and solve everything then you end up being a dilettante but you have to have enough knowledge to make good judgments about the choices that are presented to you.”

Ann Althouse characterizes this as Obama “mainly saying ‘I’m the decider”” but this is quite different from the attitude exhibited by George Bush. George Bush takes on the role of “the decider” to dismiss criticism from others and ignore those who do not agree with his decisions which are set in stone. Even many conservatives have acknowledged that being willing to listen to the views of others is one of Obama’s strong points. Making decisions after hearing the views of a variety of experts is the opposite of George Bush’s method of making decisions.

Most important of all, it would be a considerable improvement to have a president who actually does take time to think. That is why, in contrast to the current president and in contrast to John McCain, Obama is the one who “knows his stuff” and has reasonable ideas to run on.

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