Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama needs a Junior Seau

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 10/20/09

Obama is lacking something. There is no one particularly likeable in his organization besides Obama himself. Any vital organization needs what historian W.J. Cash called “the man at the center.” The “man at the center” is not the man at the top. He is someone in the midst of things who brings a spirit to the group that transcends partisanship. Someone with whom most everyone in the organization and out of it can relate to. Colin Powell was a good example in the Reagan organization. Most people liked him. Most still do. But Obama has no such figure. Instead of a Powell he has given us Joe Biden, the white guy from central casting, Hillary, that Other Mother from the Sixties, and Rahm Emmanuel who frightens children and other living things.

The Man at the Center is kind of an annex for the Man at the Top. We are only half way there with the man at the top; Man at the Center is the heart, which should be listened to first. The Man at the Center defines the man at the top to a greater realm as Powell did with Reagan. If she or he is not there, the group will become partisan and oppositional as Bush II and Clinton were oppositional; possibly they were intentionally oppositional, possibly they just didn’t know what they were doing. It brews dissent and opposition. The country will eventually be poisoned in opposition and civil war could eventually erupt as oppositional politics defines via negatives. Or will become totalitarian, where one conquers all, like the current Chinese model which is drawing admirers now from the political fashionistas in New York and Moscow.

The Man at the Center can bring the dead to life as Tedy Bruschi did when he joined the New England Patriots in 1996. The age swirls around him as it swirled around John Lennon in 1967. He lives beyond his death as Lord Nelson did through the Victoria Age and continues to do today in novels and movies.

A great manager, like Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, understands this in principle and in his heart. Throughout New England these past few weeks they have been wearing the number 54 to honor Bruschi. When he retired the team seemed to lose it heart. Belichick called in Junior Seau who would rather be surfing, rather be cutting oranges to bring to his daughter’s soccer game, rather be sunning in San Diego than tackling in the snow and chill of blustery New England. But he came back for Belichick and for us. And for a few games more we get our heart back. This week we won like in the old days when Junior played with Tedy and Mike Gravel. 59 to zero.

That’s what Obama needs; a Tedy Bruschi, a Junior Seau, a Colin Powell or a Lord Nelson. Without that, he doesn’t have a chance.