From POLITICO’s Arena:
POLITICO’s Jonathan Allen and Alex Isenstadt report that President Barack Obama’s use of the phrase “a little bit lazy” is drawing criticism from presidential candidate Rick Perry and other Republicans.
Will the president’s comment hurt him in 2012? Have his words been misconstrued?
Rodell Mollineau, President, American Bridge 21st Century
For all that Republicans talk about American exceptionalism, it appears that it is they who have forgotten what makes America great.
Without Americans’ determination, the gifts with which we are uniquely endowed would go to waste. Without Americans’ commitment, declarations of American greatness would be but hollow claims. Rather than desperately taking the President’s words out of context, Republicans should understand that over 235 years of American success have been driven by the singular thought that we can do better.
As any athlete or artist who reaches the pinnacle of their craft would attest, when the benchmark of the best has been passed, it is the motivation to always be better that remains the elusive target for which we strive. The American people know that President Obama’s words were meant to challenge our country not to be corrupted by a culture of complacency. We can’t afford to grow lazy, can’t afford to settle just for being the best when there is always room to get better.
Though the formulation changes, the challenge has been issued time and again, from John F. Kennedy to Vince Lombardi. In fact, Mitt Romney would be well served to remember that in his own book, “No Apology,” he issues the same challenge: “We have been accustomed to being the world’s leading nation for so long, enjoying the freedom, security, and prosperity that comes with that leadership, that we have tended to avoid the hard work that overcoming challenges requires.”
So while Republican candidates choose to feign outrage, expect the American people to back leaders who exemplify the truly American response – rising to meet the challenge, as we have always done.