Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is the Presidency Too Big for One Person?

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Newsweek Magazine is asking the question in their feature article, "Hail To The Chiefs".

The article begins, "In 1936 Franklin Roosevelt felt overwhelmed." President Obama has often indicated that Roosevelt is a hero and even a model for him and his policies.

Writer Daniel Stone carefully chronicles the expansion of duties associated with the White House--opening mail, scheduling, etc., etc., from then to present day.

He says it takes 6 people just to open the mail to Barack Obama and 496 employees in the White House, not including a number of other White House jobs like, ethics advisers, assistant for "mobility and opportunity policy," a director of African-American media, etc.

Who knows how many work there?

Stone says, "Obama projects a demeanor of unruffled cool: he can handle the pressures and demands of the job just fine."

"But the issue," he says, "is not Obama, it's the office."

Really? They said the same of Jimmy Carter.

The conclusion is that indeed the office is likely too big for one person, with an assortment of possibilities of how to solve the problem.

Is it possible that America may have chosen a man who isn't big enough for the office, and may have done so from time to time over the years?

In October, 2008, VP candidate Joe Biden
acknowledged that Barack Obama's lack of foreign-policy experience, "will provoke America's enemies into creating an international crises."

We are already seeing foreign-policy failures.

This past July, Walter Williams wrote an
insightful column on the failure of both President Obama's and President Roosevelt's economic policies.

Williams quotes a passage from Henry Morgenthau's personal diary. Morgenthau was Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury. He told his diary: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work...We have never made good on our promises...I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started...and an enormous debt to boot."

Morgenthau actually understated the economic conditions of Roosevelt's Administration. Unemployment was 18% in 1935, 14% in 1936 and by 1938 it was 20%.

The top tax rate was raised to 79% and even 90% a little later.

Professor Burton Folsom, from Hillsdale College, who has done extensive research on this era has said that Roosevelt actually proposed a 99.5% marginal tax rate on all incomes over $100,000.

His and other's research also shows that the recovery in the 1940's would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.

Williams points out that Roosevelt is not only a hero to Obama, but his policies often serve as a model for the President and his Administration.

Paul Krugman wrote in
The New York Times last month, "The real story of this election, then, is that of an economic policy that failed to deliver."


Krugmen, while attacking the Republicans, has to concede that President Obama has, "Never made an adequate case for his policies, has stepped on his own message and is so worried about making the bankers nervous, that he ceded populist anger to the right."

This doesn't sound or look like "unruffled cool" to me.

President Obama has a very different view and vision for America than many---perhaps a majority of Americans.

He has spoken often of his vision to "transform" or "remake" America and has been clear that he does not think America is any more exceptional than France or Greece or any other country.

Florida Senator elect, Marco Rubio, defined the America most Americans see and love in
his speech following the November 2 election.

In his comments he said, "America is the single greatest nation on earth, a place without equal in the history...of all mankind."

"I know," he said, referencing his Cuban heritage, "about the unique exceptionalism of our country, not because I read it in a book, I've seen it through my own eyes. You see I was raised in a community of exiles, by people who lost their country, people who once had dreams like we do today, but had to come to a foreign shore to find them."

He says America is a place where the employee can become the employer...a place where we can fulfill our sacred obligation to leave the next generation of Americans a better America than the one we inherited."

The link I have provided above has the text of both Rubio's speech and President Obama's speech in response to the election.

They stand in stark contrast.

Newsweek makes a good point.

Indeed, the Presidency is not for everyone and it is too big for some. For others, while it is a tough job, it is a natural one.

Rubio says the Republicans were given a second chance in this election---a second chance to get it right.

Americans will get a second chance to get it right in 2012.

Keep in mind the admonitions of Newsweek. Next time we should chose a person for whom the office is not too big.

Gary Randall
Faith and Freedom

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