Preternatural Calm

That’s basically how Andrew Sullivan describes Barack Obama in his Sunday Times essay.  And there’s really something to this.  First, Obama’s calm in the face of the Clintonistas drove Bill (“Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice”) Clinton and Hillary (“Shame on you, Barack Obama!”) Clinton to say things that they’d later regret, and that may well have lost them the primary.

Now Obama continues unruffled in the face of McCain/Palin onslaught of negative ads and tenuous connections to Bill Ayers and ACORN.  I expect that we’ll see tonight, once again, Obama perform in the debate without any Goresque sighs or Nixonian flop sweats.  Clearly, as Sullivan convincingly argues, Obama’s calm demeanor in the face of the global economic crisis has contributed to his recent surge in the polls.

And now to venture into the land of pure speculation: It seems to me that BO could not maintain this unshakeable calm were he not an exceptionally grounded, centered, and spiritual person.  I suppose that some people are more “wired” toward calm than others, and I’m quite sure that our life experiences contribute to our personalities (like, say, 5 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton).  But running a 2+ year presidential campaign entails an extraordinary amout of stress.  Embedded journalists have repeatedly reported both Hillary and McCain regularly exploding in rage at their campaign teams.  Unless I’ve missed it, there’s been nary a mention of Obama losing his cool, even behind the scenes.

As a person who tries, often unsuccessfully, to stay centered in the midst of crisis and stress, I cannot but believe that BO’s own spirituality contributes greatly to the preternatural calm that he exudes.

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  • Annie

    I don’t think you know enough about it to canonize him just yet.

  • Yeah…first “The One” and now he’s St. Francis?

  • @Annie and Andrew did you both wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Or are you you just trolling?

  • I think it is remarkable how Obama has maintained his composure throughout all this. He seems much of the time to be above the fray, as it were. That doesn’t automatically qualify him for president, but it does ad to a constellation of traits that point to what a president should be. I certainly don’t want to vote based on whether a candidate looks more presidential, but I do think there is more to Obama than a mere act.

  • Yeah we oughtta hold back on the canonization process for now.

    My goodness.

    I’m not sure his calm reflects a deep spirituality, either. There are a lot of contributing factors, like you said, involved with a person’s demeanor.

    Although I do grant that Body Odor (BO) has great qualities when it comes to this area, I haven’t seen any “deep faith” on display at all.

    I think Annie and Andrew woke up on a very valid side of the bed.

  • @James

    Nothing in your post would seem to indicate that you actually read Tony’s post but where more interested in spouting a rehearsed train of thought about Obama. Also calling Senator Obama “Body Odor” is just dumb. What are you 10?

    I’m glad it’s up to you to determine whether the senator has “deep faith” or not.

  • Charlie

    “I haven’t seen any “deep faith” on display at all”

    What exactly qualifies for “putting ‘deep faith’ on display”? Sarah Palin’s fundamentalism? John McCain’s rhetoric? Barack Obama’s calm underfire?

    Exactly what does displaying a deep faith look like to you? He’s not an evangelist. He’s a politician for crying out loud.

  • tony,

    i think you’re right about his demeanor. no less a conservative libertarian than krutheimer (i don’t know how to spell his name) mentioned that barack’s got not only a first-degree intellect (like t. roosevelt) but also a first-degree temperament. it may or may not say a lot about his spirituality (i kind of think it may), but it certainly says a lot about his leadership – i.e., that he’s not going to take gambles with our country like picking a horribly unqualified running-mate.

  • PB

    I just don’t get it.

    “It seems to me that BO could not maintain this unshakeable calm were he not an exceptionally grounded, centered, and spiritual person.”

    First I agree that how an individual faces hardship can and many times does point to being centered in faith. In many ways I believe this single issue alone can point others towards the Kingdom of God.

    I would say however that one of the reasons he has been able to stay calm is that he hasn’t addressed issues directly as I would hope he would. For example when asked about his “tenuous” relationship with Ayers he has said Ayers is “a guy who lives in my neighborhood.” Pretty easy and calm answer, but certainly not the truth. Tony, you must know that the relationship is deeper than that.

    Another example of him staying calm was during the Saddleback Forum. Answering “Above my paygrade” was an easy, calm answer that passed the question on to a higher authority without addressing the answer directly to Rick Warren or the audience.

    It’s easy to stay calm when you vote present half of the time and don’t answer questions directly. I’m not sure it points to his faith at all.

  • Well, A.S.

    I read BO’s faith statements and such on that very informative link you left me, and still stand where I stood before.

    Nothing I wrote was rehearsed, as you claimed.

    I’m not really in the business of rehearsing trains of thought about Obama. Or McCain. I really am not overly fond of either.

    I just think it’s funny how everyone’s talking up Obama.

    I agree with PB’s coment. A hundred percent. PB makes a very good point.

    I’m glad, too, that choosing who has deep faith is up to me. No one else I’d trust more. 🙂

    Thanks again for the very informative link. This one has some good ones on it too. Hope I jotted it down right:

  • Nowaytess

    O guess you can remain calm when for 20 you can’ figure what your Pastor is preaching? Or the fac that, “bill Ayers ” is reabiltated?

    I want Joe the plummer to run for President!

    I n my profession I work with people who lie all day and will con you.

    You will learn so much about a person when they owe money. You will learn true colors when real reprocussions happen to them.

    BO is a very good Con man. They easiest people on the earth to Con? White liberal are great marks! they are so are educated. Why? Any person know a person who think they are so smart, a con man picks right up on his Mark.

    White Liberal have to feel better because now they relize they are privledged. I used to watch them for when i was homeless I was not noticed so I got to see watch good chunk of people in action. You be amazed how much dirt you see when people think you are invisable.

    When I lived in Boston area we get a good share of Massachuttes brand liberals. They show up in the hood around election time or when they need to do a good work. We know bleeding hearts would just come thinking they understood how we lived. Yeah right! I used the hear the my neighbors just go for the take and laugh at those who just gave it to them.

    I just called it payday!

    People wonder at work how I find people? I am just a ghetto girl who sizes people up. I get apid very well for my abilties to find people and merchantdise, etc.

    My current Pastor and I were talking about program here to hel phousing crunch. I just see the Goverment buying up property to make it one big Section 8 program.

    His idea goverment will cut a deal with these families first start reduced rent for about 400 then to 600 after a few month and have a plan in one year to buy the property. Here is where I tried to reason with him; Once you give them the reducded rent in a goverment program the families have no real incentive to do better. The families will do all the can to keep the 400 a month rent. Do you know how hard it is to evict a section 8 tenent? Very hard they have more rights than the landlord. I can convince him of that because Pastor I love dearly. I am glad he president and does something about the problem. I am just afraid as White liberal they are very naive about the culture the welfare state is now creating.

    Why would you work when it is more profitable just to collect goverment Benefits? It was once printed best paying Job in Lynn Massacuttes: Welfare. It still is.

  • Mandy


    Just wanted to say thanks for this post. It helped me put my finger on why I respect Obama and his claims of faith as opposed to some other current politicians. I (and I assume you) do not see Obama as some kind of savior or panacea for all the world’s ills. I do think he is clearly the best choice to lead our country at this moment and I certainly do not think he is the “lesser of two evils” or some other sad cliche people use when they fear responsibility or decision-making. A friend of mine recently posted a quote from Obama in which he stated that his faith was not absolute. My friend strangely interpreted this to mean that BO was mocking Christ’s truth, his death and resurrection. I checked out the quote in context and walked away, yet again, even more impressed by Obama’s worldview and faith journey. I have to agree with Tucker in that demeanor alone does not qualify him for the presidency. In fact, being a Christian doesn’t either. However, his qualifications are there, and he has given evidence to show that he will be a leader who surrounds himself with wise counsel. That, among many other reasons, is why I will vote for him.

  • tony arens

    BO has been well trained. It’s very easy to remain calm when there’s no depth in what you say, relying simply on talking points, and posing nothing more than gross generalizations.

    I truly don’t know how you can even consider yourself a (positively) spiritual person when you vote against a bill that requires care for a baby who survives a botched abortion – or votes in favor of partial-birth abortion. And please – don’t tell me again that it’s because there wasn’t a clause in the bill to provide an exception when the mother was in danger. The mother is not in danger when the baby is in a gargabe bag, nor is the mother in danger when the baby’s head is crowning just prior to the procedure. It has been clinically proven time and time again that this is a cop-out. Spiritual? Oh, please spare me. Deep faith? In what?

    Ooops, wait a minute – your joking right? Oh man, I am such a sucker!

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  • i feel sorry for anyone who has to hope mccain wins. that must be a really terrible feeling right about now. but look on the bright side, you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying 8 years of GOP utopia. Now it’s time for the Dems to reverse all the really good stuff going on right now.

  • Aaron C. Rathburn

    His calm is not necessarily related to any sense of “spirituality.” This idea only reflects yet another picture of the “messiah complex” that is surrounding Obama and his pop-culture-fans.

    Jay Leno on Obama:
    “Fires in Los Angeles, again. People in Hollywood don’t know how to deal with fires. Especially celebrities. When celebrities see a burning bush, they rush toward it, because they think Barack Obama’s about to speak.”

    To Aaron Stewart- the abbreviation “BO” is *always* used to refer to body odor. It’s not a stretch that the commenter used this play on words of Tony’s abbreviation.

    To Tony-
    For being someone who is both in academia and the spotlight, you may wish to use more discernment and critical thought on such things in the future.

  • What do you mean by “spiritual?” Is that the same way as Gandhi was “spiritual?” I sure hope your use of that word is firmly tied to salvation by faith alone in Christ. If not, I’m very concerned for you and the movement you influence.

  • Nowaytess


    I fell sorry for America if BO wins. If he wins and the current left wing liberals in congress and Senate, the quick passage of law USA will become like France or even worse!

    I only want Mc Cainto win to scale back another 4 years to keep these people at bays.

    Sadly Collegs and Universities left wing teacher have now indoctinated a whole young generation to accpet Socialism of Europe. I know it will come here in America in my life time.

    Now I am glad God never permitted me to get into College. I felt now I would have been educated stupid and gotten a lack of common sense. And I don’t have to pay back Sallie Mae for the rest of my life.

    In the next 5 years most of the older generation will go home to their heavenly reward. Once they are gone their wisdom goes with them People who remember the great depression, world wars and how America became a great nation.

    A good book for you to read is by Tom Brokaw, “The Greastest Generation.” You enjoy today the sacrafices that generation made so you enjoy.

    Another one I am going to go to read is, “The forgotten Man.” I just can’t remember the author’s name.

    Many under 40 are part of what I call the “Give me Give me, Entitlement Generation.”

    Why do you think we and the whole world is now in the greateset economic crisis it has seen in over 50 years? The answer is so simple, and so politically incorrect it is offensive. But here it is:

    We lived beyond our means. WE borrow against our home, we borrrowed for college and never expected the price tag when school loans came due. Oh we have to have that brand new car! WE took out credit card feed our addiction to buy, lastest clothes electronics. etc. WE don;t apply for credt because we are hungry or take care of our basic needs.

    BTW we don’t cook at home we out out every day. WE go to the club once or twice a week.

    WE never had a budget or savings any savings.

    YOu can blame the goverment or the banks to lend out too easy.

    I just don’t see anyone taking any personal responibilty anymore.

    My father always taught me one thing: Lender always comes to collect.

    I have sign by my desk: You think no one cares for you, just miss a few payments.

  • Yah, letz keeep theeze liburuls at bays. m cane 08!

  • Zach,

    Its a good thing your sarcasm is very edifying, because I think if it wasn’t, you might be offending brothers and sisters who love Jesus–which has far more grievous consequences than voting for the wrong candidate.

  • Nowaytess

    Thank you Clint. I do care not just for this country but my concern is for the Christian Church first.

    “ until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes”-Daniel 4:25b. We think we elect our leaders but we really don’t.
    God already know for HIS divine purpose who is already going to be President. God will manuvare events to make sure his purposes are done.

    Sadly one day will will also give is our way. Here is the passage from All of 1 Samuel 8 : .When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel.
    2.The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.
    3.But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
    4.So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.
    5.They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
    6.But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.
    7.And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
    8.As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.
    9.Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
    10.Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.
    11.He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.
    12.Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
    13.He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
    14.He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.
    15.He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.
    16.Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.
    17.He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.
    18.When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
    19.But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.
    20.Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
    21.When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord.
    22.The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone go back to his town.”

    Sad enough God will allow USA to adpot leaders Like BO because Chruch is now indoctirnated toward rejected the basic 3% abousultes found in the Bible.

    As I pray about this election the only word I receive only reason why Liberelis will be held back for only another 4 years is. “Their hatred is not yet complete.” These people have no love for religion, once they gain access to full power and turn on the USA Chruch, Church will be stunned.

    I be Pollitical Incorrect here once these guys gain power our Conisitutioin we hold so dear will only have the value of toliet paper.

    Can’t we see it now? It is coming, it not a matter of if it is a matter of when God will allow it.

    I was on Crosswalk and found this article I like to share the line about who “Church Leader Prepare for Trying Times:

    Here is the link;

    I like the part where it speaks how 100 years before Rome fell it became Christianised. with all careless lack for wealth and security it was a shock when it fell and people became reufee, broke.

    Sadly God has allow today because Chruch became too involved with Politics, especially the right and left is now starting to also get involved with Political Power both will yeild the same sad result.

    USA Church not focused on the divine command to preach the Gospel of Jesus.

    Are we prepared here Chruch in America WE could lose everything exept the shirt on our back and still praise God? Still love and obey Jesus?

    Will God alllow all our worldly wealth power and rights be taken away just to remind us we rely on him alone? Maybe if the USA Church went underground we stop bickering and united as one Chruch?

  • Conisitutioin? Liberelis? abousultes? C’mon man. Don’t fear the spell check.

    I get it. If Obama wins, this whole country will be flushed down the toilet. 10-4. The bright side of all this for conservatives will be the opportunity to maybe wipe the slate clean and perform a fresh restart on a conservative philosophy that I firmly believe can offer valuable tools to making this country better than it is today.

    I feel your pain, Tess. But don’t get too bugged out. We survived 8 years of Clinton without circling the drain. Besides, Bush has done so much good, I’m not sure even Obama can reverse all this good fortune we got going on right now. 😉

  • Jon

    Im blown away time and time again when people attack Obama’s faith. Its to say the least ill-informed and ignorant. I don’t vote on whose more, “Christlike”, especially after people were pumping from the pulpit that Bush Jr. was ordained by God. But if I were to vote as a faith-based voter, it would be hard to argue his faith when you read the quote that Mandy was talking about in full context. Which is among so many of the other brilliantly mind-blowing things I’ve heard him say. The link for what Mandy mentioned can be found right here-–poverty-in-the-bible-and-we-can-raise-up-and-pass-out-thi.html

  • Zach,

    Don’t fear the Bible-check. You might find yourself responding like a Christian.


    Would Obama agree with Jesus when he said, “No one comes to the Father except through me”? If not, I would have concerns that his faith is not the same one described in Scripture. And, Bush didn’t even agree with that statement. I have concerns for him as well.