President Obama made news with two phone calls this week.
On one of the calls he pledged fervent cooperation--even though he foresees difficult negotiations ahead.
On the other, Obama warned the person on the other end the line that he could expect nothing but the back of his hand.
On the first call, he admitted that "while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward... [he] believe[d] the two parties could reach a comprehensive solution." (Comprehensive, mind you. Not partial, not segmented, but over-arching, all encompassing, and addressing the most important items to both sides. Hence, comprehensive.)
On the second call, Obama phoned to specifically announce that he would NOT be negotiating. (In essence, indicating that no matter what the other party offered, he was going to purposefully NOT listen, NOT engage, and NOT capitulate on even small items.)
On the first call, President Obama admitted that he directed executive cabinet level secretaries to "continue pursuing the diplomatic effort." In doing so, he indicated that he felt constructive discussions had been held in recent days with the partners involved in the matters they were reviewing.
On the second he explicitly said that the "full faith and credit of the United States should not and will not be subject to negotiation."
On the first call he expressed the realization that the person he was negotiating with represented a party that has, under most people's view, been untrustworthy.
On the second he blatantly chose to work against someone he had worked with in the past to achieve actual compromise.
On the first call he bragged about the engagement of allies and mediators, even the inclusion of others with a stake in the outcome of the issues being discussed. He touted how each of those additional parties were fruitfully contributing and participating.
On the second call his primary ally also served as an enforcer to instruct others to not engage, so that they could keep their "powder dry" in order to have the maximum leverage to punish the other side.
On the first call, the President himself bragged about the fact that his call had taken place. He took credit for the good that might come from it, and felt no remorse for reversing an American policy held since 1979 to make it happen.
On the second call, the President allowed the media to run the story, and he hoped for headlines that would cut the kneecaps off of the person on the other end of the line.
On the first call he concluded by hoping verbally for great success in achieving something for the good of the people of the world.
On the second he made it clear that he could care less how his response to the issue they were negotiating would impact the average American.
On the first call, it is safe to assume that the boldness of the desire to discuss and negotiate was born out of political opportunism.
On the second call it is reasonable to assume that the truly greater good for the citizens of the nation he serves was greatly subverted for the purposeful, intentional, and proactive attempt to fulfill a philosophical agenda. (As opposed to the truly greater good for America.)
On the first call the communication was achieved--in all likelihood--because of a sense of weakness sniffed out by the person on the other end of the line.
On the second call the bellicose, unrelenting, express demand of his own way is likely compensating for that very weakness that all parties see so easily.
On the first call the possibility of genuine good coming from the items discussed, if looked at fairly by those who study such, is overly ideal, and some would even call it "pie in the sky" optimism.
On the second call the genuine need of the average American family, and every person affected by the American economy my be impacted. Most likely to the negative.
On the first call there was genuinely no respect expressed by the party he was supposedly negotiating with.
On the second he had the chance to live up to one of his most oft-repeated promises that he would rise above politics and do what was best for "We The People."
On the first call he hoped against hope to begin a process of ultimate resolution towards a hopeful development, towards a hopeful future.
On the second call he shut down any hope of resolution on something that may adversely impact millions of Americans financially.
On the first call he made extraordinary overtures to the leader of an enemy of the United States--a nation that has sponsored terrorism, and is siding with those who are anti-American in their DNA.
On the second call he continued his behavior of extraordinary rudeness to a fellow American, who like him is tasked with service to this nation through the leading of the legislative body that best represents "We The People."
And this is what happened when the President of the United States called President Rouhani of the Islamic Nation of Iran, and followed it up with a call to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
To which all we can do is shake our heads in disbelief, as did the men on the other ends of those phone calls.
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