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November 13, 2011

The President's Unhelpful Prejudice Against Passion

The new book on Richard Holbrooke was reviewed in the Washington Post today, but it had as much to say about the President as it did Holbrooke.  Given the President’s well-known prejudice against passion, including even passionate commitment to values and ideals that should engender passion, it was no surprise to anyone that Holbrooke wasn’t a favorite of the President.

But, it was the quote from Les Gelb’s appreciation of Holbrooke (oddly not included in the book) that was the most telling: 

“Dick also ‘lectured [the President], and the President is the kind of guy who felt he ought to be doing the lecturing. It was a clash as well of two very powerful intellects.  Obama could have learned a lot from Holbrooke, but wasn’t disposed to do so.”

In an age of timid, career calculating, pollster-PR driven, risk averse, soulless pigmies, Holbrooke was a giant and Gelb’s piece is a must read or re-read.  

Read today’s review here and Les’s appreciation here



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