March 31, 2012

What Makes A Good President!

After reading an article in The New York Times by Matt Bai on March 28, 2012, discussing the summer 2011 negotiations to reduce our deficit, I started thinking about the role of the President in governing our country.

My conclusion is President Obama made a big mistake during the negotiations and is not perfect; however, he is better than any Republican candidate seeking that party’s nomination.

Below is my criteria used to select whom I support to be President. Others may have a different list.

1. Be in good health
2. Be trust worthy with integrity
3. Be able to get things done through others. 
4. Be intelligent and have a grasp of the problems, issues and opportunities facing the country.
5. Be organized and goal oriented.
6. Must possess good inter-personal skills.

The position of President of the United States is unique; he has a staff that reports directly to him like any private corporation. This includes the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Attorney General, etc. He also works with congress and he senate to pass and amend laws. These separate bodies of government do not work for our Chief Executive; however, he needs their cooperation in order to get anything accomplished, Further, the President interacts with world leaders to achieve our objectives.

Two specific events during President Obama’s first three years in office cause some concern about his interpersonal skills. They are his health care plan and the above-mentioned debt crisis negotiations.

We need national health care. It should be amended in order to make the health care industry a free market. I am disappointed on how the President handled it. At the time, the nation was in a financial crisis that easily could have been a depression and his focus should have been on solving that problem. Further, it consumed a good portion of a year before the bill was approved and signed into law, because he was not directly involved during that time. His party members were hanging in the wind.

During the debt negotiations, President Obama showed a shortfall in his interpersonal skills. This contributed to the debt negotiations collapsing. A component of interpersonal skills is empathy; having a sense of what others are thinking and caring about. Empathy is extremely important when dealing with those who you have no direct control over. This is the case with the President, congress and the senate. The President cannot force them to do what he wants.

President Obama and Congressman Boehner failed to include anyone from the senate in the discussions. Members of the senate were upset. As a result, six senators, three from each party, started their own negotiations. Within days prior to Obama and Boehner announcing an agreement, the “gang of six” senators presented their proposal to over 100 senators, with many of them endorsing it. 

The senate plan called for greater revenue from taxes than what Obama had agreed to with  Boehner. Obama unilaterally proposed changes to the agreement instead of trying to solve the issue jointly. Boehner felt betrayed and refused the offer. Obama lacked empathy for the needs of the other party.

The lack of any empathy on the part of Obama and Boehner was a contributing factor of our country not having a plan to resolve our debt problems. I blame Obama more than Boehner. Democrats control the senate and Obama should have insisted the senate be represented at the talks. People of high intelligence often lack empathy. They are use to being right. This is no excuse and Obama needs to learn to be more empathetic to the needs and desires of others who have a stake in the decision. Einstein once said "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

Despite this flaw, he is still the best person to be our President for the next four years. The Republican alternatives are far worse and we are better off than we were four years ago. Read More: http://goo.gl/ochfz

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