Tuesday, September 29, 2009

President Obama defies GOP critics by pushing for 2016 Olympics

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, the GOP's lead puppet, has decided that President Obama should not go to promote the 2016 Olympic bid for Chicago to bring the Olympics back to America yet again. His criticism is based on the notion that there is a lot of other things to do, and this shifts his focus away from those things. CNN quotes him:

I think at a time of war, I think at a time of recession, at time where Americans have expressed rather significantly their concerns and frustrations over the course of the spring and summer …this trip, while nice, is not necessary for the president

It is amazing that apparently the largest staff in the world that each President has cannot do anything without the President's 24/7 focus, so President Obama should not support bringing the Olympics and all the money that comes along with it. A few things we should remember:

* The GOP and most politicians have learned that they should not be micromanaging a war. Sure, they get daily reports, but that is different than micromanaging it and those reports can happen anywhere in the world. So I don't know why a "war" should detour President Obama's dealing with other issues.

* A recession isn't a reason not to go push for the Olympics, it is a reason to go get them. While Steele qualified it as President Obama should focus on jobs today, not jobs in seven years; President Obama has made it clear he will focus on both today and the future of America, which would be the smart decision. After all, focusing only on today can lead to catastrophe tomorrow. Besides, the bids for the Olympics do create some jobs today, getting the bid means a lot of jobs tomorrow in the next few years, and even more money in seven years when it gets here. They aren't only in seven years. Being so smart on economics, Steele should have known that obvious fact.

* Amazingly, Steele and the Republicans didn't express similar concerns whenever President Bush hit three years of 30% polling, but rather wanted him to act more, not less. Combined with the claim by Florida's Governor Crist that President Obama would be another Jimmy Carter (a claim that makes no sense when you look at the comparisons of their actions) might show exactly what the GOP's strategy is: Do everything to make sure President Obama gets nothing done so they can say "what did he do" in four years. That is why this trip is all the more important and necessary.

The American public always gets this restless when the economy is bad, and if the economy turns, then President Obama will reap the rewards from it much like President Reagan did in 2004. Remember, President Reagan came in during similar economic times though they had gone on longer, and while he made some mistakes, the economy turned by 2003 (though it did get worse after he came into office before it got better) leading him to a landslide victory in 2004 on the slogan "are you better off than you were four years ago?"

If President Obama gets health care done, if he gets energy done, and if the stimulus funds start filtering through the economy in the next 12 months as they should, then this will have been one of the most successful first years of any Presidency in history. If not, it could be a flopped first year.

But what history should tell us is this: Anyone who makes claims about what will happen in year four of a Presidency before year one is done with any attempt to be definitive is probably completely full of it and should have their motives questioned.

After all, think of it this way, 8 years and 3 weeks ago, President Bush was to be "going down in flames", never to see a second term. Even two years into his Presidency, President Clinton was a failure and on his way out. President Reagan had passed a tax cut but the economy was still a disaster well into his second year. All three won two terms. If nothing else, a bad first year or so may well build a President's credibility for turning things around for the year or two prior to re-election.

Either way, President Obama SHOULD continue to take actions to get things done, both for now and in the future. One of the greatest mistakes that Jimmy Carter ever made was inaction. President Obama appears to have learned that lesson.

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