Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Saying No to the Banker

Obama was asked about boycotting the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing. Earlier he'd called for the President to boycott the ceremonies, but now he hedges his bets, since he learned that Chicago was trying to host and upcoming Games. After a circuitous discourse about who knows what, he said:

We have to take a stronger stance. We have to take a stronger stance and it's got to be more consistent over time. Let me make one last point about China: It's very hard to tell your banker that he's wrong, all right? And if we are running huge deficits and big national debts and we're borrowing money constantly from China, that gives us less leverage. It give us less leverage to talk about human rights, it also is giving us less leverage to talk about the uneven trading relationship that we have with China.

Shorter: "No". While saying it was important to take a stand, he refused to even take a symbolic one.

So Obama will not ruffle Chinese feathers by personally boycotting Olympics. What does that say, by extension, about his ability to stand up to those people who have endorsed his campaign or bankrolled it? And even if those who have donated to it could be characterized as "the little guys", which they cannot, how can he ever do anything that is unpopular, as a leader often, or even usually, must?
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