If I were president

We all know that President Obama does not have that many years in Washington, D.C. before he developed the ambition to run for that office. So? The last two presidents with absolutely no experience in Washington, D.C.: Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush, developed the ambition to run for the office of the presidency and without a doubt showed what their lack of experience accomplished, in their vetting of cabinet positions, in many of their policy positions, even in how they worked with Congress.  We Americans managed to weather the topsy-turvy Clinton administration just fine.  Even with the Lewinsky as mistress scandal, or despite it, there are people now who look back on his presidency as a far better time than we had in the last 8 years of GW.  With GW, we saw a fellow heading toward his retirement who still acted far too young to fill his elderly father’s shoes in the same office his father held.  But then, Kathleen Parker never described the president many derided as a “chimp” or “shrub” as being immature.  She leaves that for the much younger African-American president, Barack H. Obama.

What if I were president?  A person about a decade older than he is who is not a politician, never ran for office, and wouldn’t have political experience anywhere.  Would I try for a cleaner more ethical administration?  Given the last 8 years most assuredly.  Would I be pitch perfect in bringing people to the cabinet, staff, perhaps even a judgeship who couldn’t be challenged on ethical standards?  Absolutely not.  Would I try to work with the political opposition?  Absolutely.  And if the political opposition were voted into a minority status because my party won; demonstrated a refusal to leave partisanship behind; would I be inclined to say, “I won and you need to get over yourselves,” absolutely.

After all, the GOP can count among their numbers the dude who sang a crude parody of “Puff the Magic Dragon;” titled “Obama the magic negro.”  They wanted for their veep a woman who classified foreign policy experience number 1 as being neighbors with Russia.  They wanted for their president a fellow who couldn’t decide which “straight talk express” he was going to ride on that day throughout the long campaign. Their “base” exhibited pure childish hatred at the very idea that an African-American could ascend to the highest office in the land and more as a Democrat besides.  And since Obama has entered the presidency, the childish hatred of what the GOP “base” presumes are his policies a little more than 3 weeks into his presidency—being “socialist”—have been vented in letters to the editors in local papers.

If I were president, I could definitely expect such slings and arrows from such people.  It would in fact take a strength of will to withstand such petty hatred and make every effort to do the work of the nation.  But, where I, like Obama would have the immediate awareness, maturity, and even wisdom to say that I screwed up when it came to people filling my cabinet or policy decisions made wrongly; I’d find it totally amazing that political columnists such as Kathleen Parker might overlook that and instead nitpick over problems that will inevitably arise in any administration.  And plagued all of GW’s administration throughout his entire 8 years in office.  And by the way, GW rewarded failure.

Senator Judd Gregg made it official that he pulled out of the position of Commerce Secretary solely on the basis of what he didn’t like with the stimulus package.  He didn’t vote, which means he didn’t participate in its final drafting, but he decided to let his partisan colors show over accepting a cabinet position and being a voice for the GOP in the Obama administration.  I would hardly call that a level of maturity.  And a GOP who engage in childish rants that Gregg was “selling out” if he did accept such a position, my argument becomes, I don’t see you as a party relevant enough to reclaim governing status any time in the near future.

If I were president at a time when this nation were facing economic turmoil as it does now, my first focus would be on what I could do about it.  I might not choose a stimulus plan where this nation already suffers a massive debt, but I could insist on laws passed to bring American based businesses home and rehire an American workforce.  To create incentives for new cutting edge technologies.  Any spending package would be to repair critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges.  As a Republican, I would attempt to rebuild a military weakened greatly by fighting two wars.  Education?  Health care?  In better times I’d prefer to leave that to the states.  But, a presidency in tough times such as we now have, I might just agree with Democrats in Congress that some funding would be required.  Funding to the states had been done before, even GOP governors and mayors are absolutely supportive of getting federal dollars.  But how much?  And what would it take to begin refilling the U.S. Treasury?  Can I begin a presidency where the GOP mantra of tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts all the time would become just as burdensome to the next generation as Obama’s spending package assures today?  Or would I have to argue—at the risk of being called a “socialist”—that until this country is no longer a debtor nation, tax cuts are something we can’t afford?

Obama has been president for all of three weeks, he does face some rough bumps in the road and is assured to face many more.  That is to be expected.  But as Obama himself said, he must be judged on results.  Anyone who’d stand in front of people and risk their disaproval is far more mature than his predecessor.  Who’s comfort zone was such that he couldn’t stomache disaproval of any sort.  Parker is wrong.


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