Putting aside partisanship

President should stop campaigning and start governing

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Barack Obama had, and still has, the ability to be a transcendent president.

The trick is to take that soaring rhetoric out for a spin once the microphones have been unplugged and the teleprompters turned off for the night.

The problem is, halfway through the Obama presidency, he has yet to really govern.

Instead, even while term-limited, Mr. Obama seems poised to campaign instead.

His campaign apparatus is being converted to an ongoing advocacy organization to publicly press his second-term agenda – an unprecedented move that could forever change the office of president, and not for the better, while further institutionalizing partisan sniping in Washington.

Even all that might be livable – if the president were to also turn to governing. But there are no signs he will.

Governing, in the American system of governance, means working with even those whom you oppose, to compromise for the greater good. But since the November election, Mr. Obama has appeared as hyperpartisan as ever – and recently declared to his enemies in the Republican House that he would not negotiate the raising of the nation’s debt ceiling.

The president must be careful not to exaggerate the extent of his electoral mandate; he didn’t win by that much, and opposition to him is still broad and firm. If he attempts to act from an authoritarian impulse, as is his wont, his second term is sure to be less of a success than his first, and perhaps historically so.

It’s become legendary in Washington that this president doesn’t engage even those in his own party. Even Democrats in Congress are rarely consulted.

Why would a president put together a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to press his agenda, but hardly ever pick up a phone to sell his ideas to Congress?

President Reagan, whose electoral mandate was inarguably greater than Mr. Obama’s, perfected the art of going over the heads of Congress to the people. But, it’s important to note, he did it only after first trying to convince lawmakers of his case. Going to the people was a last resort for Reagan; for Obama, it seems to be the only approach.

Looking at the economic numbers, future generations will have a hard time believing Mr. Obama was re-elected. Unemployment and poverty are up, as are taxes and regulations.

Yet with his personal popularity, the president still has a chance to govern – to move the country forward, leading where possible and compromising where necessary. But he will have to be a different president in his second term. He will need to, uncharacteristically, leave the demonizing and demagoguery on the campaign trail and decide to work with Republicans.

Yes, they believe very different things – but with the media against them and having lost ground in the November election, Republicans have incentives to work with the president too. House Speaker John Boehner has tried, and made it clear he would do so immediately after the election.

We don’t understand why a recent news report had to make reference to the best way for Republicans “to pressure President Obama for more budget cuts.” With the national debt over $16 trillion, and a trillion-plus being added to it every year, why would a president have to be pressured to trim spending? It just doesn’t make sense.

He talks hopefully of future generations while continuing to spend their money.

Some believe the president simply wants to press his advantage and do whatever he can to further marginalize Republicans. Some even say he should: CBS News political director John Dickerson wrote recently that Obama “must declare war on the Republican Party.”

Pray such people are wrong, and that the president is willing to put aside partisan differences to do what’s best for the country.

That would, by extension, be what’s best for his second term and his legacy.

Comments (10) Add comment
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justthefacts
25031
Points
justthefacts 01/22/13 - 06:33 am
6
1
Hang in there

It's only 4 years. He isn't changing. He has no concept of Leadership. A really poor winner who would rather spending his time gloating than graciously accepting his victories and reaching to sooth the feelings of those who lost.

Gary Ross
3347
Points
Gary Ross 01/22/13 - 07:55 am
6
1
Do what's best for the country?

Obama? Are you joking? Name one thing he has done for the betterment of the country as a whole.

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 01/22/13 - 08:41 am
7
1
Michelle Eye Roll

This paper is going to get an eye roll from Michelle if it's not careful.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 01/22/13 - 10:36 am
4
1
Campaigning and Partisanship, All Obama Knows....

There are two kinds of people in America. There are the ones like myself and others that love America, plain and simple. Then there are the ones that love "what America can do, and does for them". I don't think John Kennedy would approve of his democrat party and the choice of president they made, the only thing they are doing, is taking America down, down, down..............................

ultrarnr
944
Points
ultrarnr 01/22/13 - 02:57 pm
0
0
Throwback
Unpublished

In his speech, Obama invoked the history of struggles for equality with a remarkable triptych: Seneca (women’s rights), Selma (black rights), and Stonewall (gay rights). And there has been remarkably little blowback — a sign of how much the country has changed.
The AC editorial staff just doesn't get the fact that the country has changed and that it is no longer run only for privileged white people. GET WITH THE REALITY FOLKS

Riverman1
93637
Points
Riverman1 01/22/13 - 04:12 pm
2
1
His Goal is Destruction of the Republican Party

Really, he's made it clear his goal is to destroy the Republican Party and says he won't negotiate with Congress. How in the world are you supposed to deal with such a President?

ultrarnr
944
Points
ultrarnr 01/22/13 - 04:23 pm
0
0
Republican Party
Unpublished

The President doesn't have to try to destroy the "republican party" It is doing a great job of marginalizing itself.

CobaltGeorge
175757
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/22/13 - 08:26 pm
1
1
Impeachment

has been spoken only once today. Don't you think we all should speak it more often.....

LillyfromtheMills
14295
Points
LillyfromtheMills 01/22/13 - 09:45 pm
1
1
Impeachment

Got my vote!

CobaltGeorge
175757
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/22/13 - 10:03 pm
0
1
Can I Have

another!

Haki
31
Points
Haki 01/23/13 - 01:14 am
2
1
I thought I would make my

I thought I would make my presence be known again. I know y'all miss this....Obama 2012. I have a new one for you guys...... Clinton 2016!

Darby
29249
Points
Darby 01/23/13 - 11:36 am
2
0
"the only thing they are doing, is taking

America down, down, down.............................."

But not without a lot of help from us, unfortunately...

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