Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Presidential Advice from an Obscure Person

Congratulations, Mr. Obama. You made it. Anyone who could survive two long, grueling, terrible years of what has come to be known as a "campaign" deserves the benefit of the doubt and our support. My hat is off to you, and may you prosper as our president. If you have a moment, I would like to give you a few words of advice from an ordinary, run-of-the-mill type of guy. It might be some good advice, so here goes:

  1. Don't surround yourself with bad men. Unfortunately, that's what many of your predecessors have done. Some of them just want a way up, others want to work long enough to be able to write a book about you and make a lot of money, and then there are others with a thirst for power and a cruel streak that does not quit. I fear you've already started to do this, and it frightens me. Please understand that you don't "owe" anyone anything. You have been elected by Americans, and you have no favors to pay. So what if they gave you money or found you some votes? You owe nobody anything, except maybe to the voters who supported you.
  2. Find people of honor and integrity. I know that this sounds a lot like the first one, but you've already had problems. You are now the president of the United States, for crying out loud, and you can't have casual conversations any more with just anybody about anything. You had a small problem this week. Mr. Bush was ready to lay some things out, to talk in confidence, as one president to another. You did not take that confidentiality seriously, and apparently blurted a lot of it to people around you, who were all too ready to leak the details to a nosy media. In so doing, you lost Mr. Bush's confidence somewhat. No matter what you think of his politics or his ethics, you need his confidence. He's been president for nearly 8 years, and he knows things you need to know. He was ready to show you all the secret places, and you were not careful in whom you told. You cannot treat secrets that way. It was a big mistake. If you want to start well as a great president, you need to find those on your staff who blabbed to the media, fire them, and warn the others that you will do that for any other "leak."
  3. Don't try to save the world in one day. You will have time to get your programs in motion. If you do too much too fast, you will find that some things don't work out like you thought. There's only one group that will do you more damage than the conservatives you challenge, and that will be the liberals that you are going to have to let down. Don't promise them the moon. Ms. Speaker already thinks you are her meal ticket, and you have a wonderful power that Mr. Bush did not have: you can keep her on a short leash. If you are going to be president, you will have to do that. And while you're at it, you need to let Mr. Reid know that you are president and he is merely a senator, who before January 20 might have been your boss, but that things have changed.
  4. Take a long, hard look. It was easy to make promises when you were merely a junior senator. Now you will be president. You will know things we don't know, and see the world through the serious eyes of our chief executive. The presidency is the "great moderator." It swings conservatives somewhat to the left, and liberals somewhat to the right. You will need to do what Kennedy and others have done who came in from the left, and realize that the "right" is "right" about some things.
  5. Keep being human. It took quite a man to admit wrong in your first press conference. You inadvertently insulted Nancy Reagan. Presidents don't make offhand comments. They don't have that luxury. But your ready admission of being wrong puts you in a great light: you are willing to correct your errors and to grow. Several of those who opposed you from both major parties need to learn this lesson. They are never wrong, at least in their own eyes.
  6. Protect your daughters. Let them be normal. Don't make them some kind of sacrifice on the altar of political correctness by doing something silly like sending them to a public school. That is way too dangerous. They deserve a small, expensive private school. You can afford it, we the people can afford it, and only an idiot would have a problem with it. Let them be little girls, and as much as is possible, let them grow up normally. Let them share a room. Of course there's plenty of money for each of them to have one of their own, but they will need each other because you and mom, as much as you want to be, will not be there with them all the time.
  7. Don't listen to special interest groups. It is better to be a one-term president with integrity than a two-term president who worries about power brokers. Tell lobbyists where to get off. Don't pander to the extreme left who think they got you in. Don't feel than anyone "deserves" to be a justice, a cabinet member, or on your staff because you "owe" them. If someone reminds you that they gave you money for your campaign, give it back to them and tell them to get lost. You've got enough money to do that.
  8. Watch the old movie "Tick..Tick...Tick.." with Jim Brown, I think. He was a black man who won the election for sheriff in a southern town in the 1960's. Let him be a role model of integrity and how it's done. I hope you're as tired as I am of hearing the word "race" in this election. Black people make up only 14% of the American electorate, and you won something like 56% of the vote. You were not elected by a racial group, and you don't owe anything to anyone. You are not the first Black president; you are the 44th American president.
  9. Get the line item veto. I didn't vote for you, and I probably don't agree with many of your political issues. While it might seem counter-productive to people like me, I want to re-assert Get the line-item veto! It will kill pork, stop nonsense, and move sluggish Washington forward. The Republicans promised this in 1994, and that's why there was a landslide. Americans want their president to have a line item veto. Presidents want to have it. The only people that are against it are congressmen and senators. I'll bet you know why. GET THE LINE-ITEM VETO!
  10. Get in touch with Dave Ramsey. If you've never heard of him, google his name. Ask him for some advice. There is not a money machine in the basement of the White House. You do not have unlimited funds, and rich people will not have near the money that you think they do. Dave Ramsey would probably send you his book for free. He would even visit with you. His ideas could fix the hemmorhaging of money that we have seen for the last eight years. Fix that, and you might be president for life.

Mr. President, my president. I give you my support and confidence. I will stand up for you when people are talking bad about you. If I disagree with your politics or decisions, I will speak against them, but never against you. If you listen to the simple advice I gave you above, you will get my vote in 2012. You can be the greatest president this nation has ever had. Take a shot at it.

God speed, Mr. President.