Don’t Campaign, Lead!
Instead of raising almost $1 billion in campaign funds, spending most of his time campaigning for reelection, and further dividing Americans, President Obama should focus on doing the job the American people elected him to do – namely leading the country out of its economic crisis. Reelection is his individual objective and not his responsibility as president. Working part-time as president during a crisis to pursue an individual objective is irresponsible. The president has the responsibility to do his job full time. Imagine the CEO of a large company in crisis who is mainly lobbying to get his contract extended instead of leading the company, or a general focusing on politics at the Pentagon instead of leading his troops into a difficult battle. The analogy that comes to mind is a captain abandoning his ship in a crisis, so he can tend to personal business.
A courageous president could decide he will stand for reelection, but that his responsibility is first to the American people, so he will not be distracted by campaigning. Instead of raising money for media advertising to criticize his opponent, he will raise money for creating new jobs. Instead of worrying about politics, he will focus on the issues needed to turn around the economy. And maybe even, instead of further dividing the country with increasingly partisan politics to the point where nothing important will get done, he could use this as an opportunity to bring the country together. Although it requires courage, he could reach out to both parties right in the midst of a highly partisan election to forge a compromise. He could even go as far as supporting members of either party who commit to constructive compromise, instead of isolated partisanship.
Ironically not only is it appropriate for the president to focus on doing his job; if he did, he would almost surely be reelected. Instead of campaigning, running political advertisements, and debating, the president could just tell the American people that they would have had four years to decide if he is the best candidate to lead the country for another four years. It’s likely that by itself, this courageous act of putting the needs of the country ahead his own needs and the desires of his party would get him reelected. Most of the American people want a courageous leader right now. Bitter campaign arguments have no winners, only losers – the American people. The Republican Party is gearing up for a big expensive partisan campaign to blame the president for the economy, but this could disarm them. How could they criticize someone who is ignoring them and trying to fix the problems, especially if he is embracing some of their better ideas?
Sure this bold courageous move could backfire. Bold moves sometime do. However, it could also be just what the country needs now more than ever, and who knows, maybe it could make President Obama one of the most courageous and respected presidents in American history!