Dear Mr. President,
I always thought you were smart, calm and cool. That you wouldn’t do anything rash as President.
I’ve been completely right about those positive attributes.
But I was wrong about one thing. One really big thing. I thought you would leverage your leadership ability and intelligence to quickly learn to use the power of your office. But for some reason — time after time — you’ve made mistakes precisely because you’ve refused to use the power that’s inherent to your high office.
Therefore, I’d like to respectfully offer you some advice. Here are seven things you need to know to use your presidential power effectively:
1. You cannot let Congress take the lead by handing over vague objectives. Ever. Congressional Democrats are bad at taking the lead nationally. Republicans are even worse.
2. You must tell Congress exactly what you want them to do — and what you will not accept. They can quibble a bit about how to get it done, but you must be very specific about your objectives.
3. You cannot assume that Congress will do what’s in the country’s best interest, unless it’s also in their own best interest. They’ve demonstrated to you — over and over again — that they absolutely will not do what’s in YOUR best interest.
4. If Congress doesn’t do what you ask, you must find a way to punish them. Or embarrass them. Preferably both.
5. If Congress does do what you ask, praise them by saying thank you for doing what’s right for our country — you have the gratitude of your President and the American people. Period.
6. You cannot expect Wall Street to help you. If they’re making huge profits, what incentive do they have to help you or the country? They may even work against you to delay the economic recovery, making it more likely that a Republican will get elected in 2012.
7. You are a Democrat. Start acting like one. Stop nibbling around the edges with small-ball thinking. In other words, go big — or (you’ll be forced to) go home.
It’s not too late, but it’s getting very close. Do you really want to be beaten by Mitt Romney? Or Rick Perry? Or Michelle Bachmann? You’ll only be 51 years old as a losing one-term President. That will give you a long time to think about what you should have learned early on. It won’t be a fun retirement.
Buffalo, New York