Sure, it's true that most of us are self-centered, at least some of the time. But how we deal with that reality defines whether we are a Pinhead or a Patriot. As always, free will prevails.
Sometimes, the evaluation of these people's actions gets complicated. For example, President John F. Kennedy did some great things for poor Americans, and he also handled the Russian threat in Cuba with admirable courage. But JFK was also needlessly ruthless at times and used people in deceitful ways. So the President was both a Pinhead and a Patriot. As you can see, defining his short life in consistent terms is very difficult to do because he was capable of both extraordinary good and incredible callousness.
Similarly, President George W. Bush is a challenge to define. He did a number of truly noble things, especially during his first term. His ferocity against murderous members of al-Qaeda likely saved thousands of American lives. His generosity in fighting disease in Africa also saved millions of lives, and that important humanitarian work continues to this day.
Unfortunately, the Pinhead factor exists for him as well, because the Iraq War was not only poorly planned but most likely unnecessary. Also, Mr. Bush's failure to aggressively oversee the economy led to rampant speculation and financial con games galore. The results were obviously catastrophic; the recession damaged the lives of countless people all over the world.
But this book is not about past Presidents per se.
In fact, much of it will be devoted to discussing the present occupant of the Oval Office. President Barack Obama is, perhaps, the most polarizing chief executive since Abraham Lincoln. Yes, opinions about Bill Clinton and Bush the Younger divided the country, but not in the way views about Mr. Obama have. Some Americans sincerely believe he is trying to change the fundamental core of the United States. You hear this critical refrain all the time: "When do I get my country back?"
The Obama factor is, of course, fluid. It is being played out every day in thousands of ways. For this reason, it is imperative that you, the loyal American, continue to watch and understand its impact on your place in America. Thus, the subtitle of this book -- Where You Stand in the Age of Obama -- and my mandate to take a hard look at the President.
On June 9, 2010, the world's most influential newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, printed an op-ed piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of the paper's editorial board.
The article, entitled "The Alien in the White House," made a devastating case that Barack Obama has little in common with working, everyday Americans. Ms. Rabinowitz put forth the view that the President simply has no understanding of you and your life. As a result, his leadership is based on theory, not reality. She also asserted that Americans are beginning to notice the emotional distance between them and their leader.
The op-ed was provocative and damaging to the President, especially in the midst of a brutal economy and the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. The polls show Mr. Obama losing the support of independent voters and even some liberal voters. Is the President detached from your reality? Is he a man who lives primarily within himself? We will try to answer those questions in the following pages.