WASHINGTON — When President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office last week to outline his plan for dealing with BP’s catastrophic oil spill, the tone of his speech left many viewers cold. Robert Reich wrote, “his words hung in the air with all the force of a fundraiser for your local public access TV station.”
Faced with the most devastating natural disaster in our country’s history, Americans are wondering: why isn’t the president angrier?
The answer may not be a matter of character but a medical condition that affects the president’s demeanor. Sources close to Mr. Obama are pointing fingers at a rare disorder called antidrenaline, which inhibits the president’s ability to become angry or irrational. Instead, Mr. Obama is hopelessly crippled by clear, logical thinking at all times.
Yesterday, Mr. Obama announced that he was suffering from the disorder at a press conference.
Though Mr. Obama has not been open about his condition until now, many Americans saw the worst of it during 2008’s presidential election. The televised debates against Senator John McCain showed Mr. Obama as horrifyingly focused and collected.
“He actually answered the questions at hand and articulated his points clearly,” Senator McCain reportedly said after their first encounter. “It’s like he entirely missed the point of a presidential debate.”
Critics have lambasted the Obama administration for its patience dealing with the BP fiasco. But while disapproval of Mr. Obama’s “cool” has gained attention recently, the president has been suffering privately as well.
“My antidrenaline disorder has been tough for both me and my family,” he said at the press conference. “As a husband and father, it is something I am constantly dealing with. And that makes me frustrated.”
“No it doesn’t,” he added.
Mr. Obama gave an example from his personal life. Last March, when his daughter Malia brought home a C+ on an exam from her sixth-grade science class, Mr. Obama could only react with coolheadedness.
“I know that a poor grade on a science test is unacceptable and that as an American parent, my duty is to give Malia a savage beating,” Mr. Obama said. “But I find myself unable to ‘fly off the handle,’ so to speak.”
To the dismay of many in the room, President Obama explained how he could only muster constructive words of encouragement for his daughter, telling her to “study harder next time” and that it was “just a science test.”
But while it remains a challenge in his personal life, Mr. Obama assured critics that the disorder would not impact his administration.
“Going into my first term as president, I knew that my antidrenaline disorder would be an obstacle,” the President concedes. “So to balance out my thoughtful, composed temperament, I brought on Rahm Emanuel.”
But many Americans are still discouraged by the absence of rage from the President. Sensing this growing consensus even among his supporters, Obama concluded his announcement with a pledge to manage his condition more aggressively. “In future meetings with BP,” the president said, “be assured that my dissatisfaction will register most emphatically.”