Start Acting Like a President

From the diaries by Erick.

This isn’t a post bashing President-elect Barack Obama or Democrats. This is a recommendation to the new incoming Administration and all Americans out there supporting it. The President-elect is no longer a candidate; he will be taking residence in he White House in a few short weeks. Yes, history will be made when he does this, but history will also be made by the unprecedented crises our country is facing, which Mr. Obama will have to address from day one. Indeed, he’s already starting to work on the plan, which I give him credit for, and I commend him for his picks on the economic team that will be driving economic policy in the new Administration. What did not impress me, though, was the manner in which Mr. Obama is still acting more like a candidate and less like a President.

At yesterday’s press conference, where President-elect Obama introduced his economic policy team, many of my fellow economists and investors were encouraged by the work that the President-elect is doing before even getting into office. However, what many people were concerned by was the manner in which Mr. Obama continued to blame the Bush Administration and Republicans for the troubles our country is facing. He was so audacious as to openly criticize President Bush for policies that allegedly increased the severity of the finacial crisis.

The point here is that candidates can bash Presidents, politicians bash Presidents, but Presidents do not bash Presidents. They don’t need to do this, because they are President. Now, I understand Mr. Obama is not President yet and he’s new on the job (indeed, any job), so it’s understandable to give him some time. But, the first lesson that President-elect must learn is that the Bush Administration and the Republicans can no longer be his skapegoat.

You see, what the Obama Administration will come to realize is that the buck, so to speak, now stops with the new resident in the White House, i.e., President-elect Barack Obama. The President of the United States does not pass or dodge blame, because in the end, he is the leader of this country; therefore, any blame for what’s wrong in this country will ultimately rest on his doorstep. This is a lesson that President Bush has had to learn the hard way, but he can and should be able to handle it, because he signed up for the job, so he must understand the ultimate responsibility for what happens in the United States rests on the President.

Another thing that jumped out at me when listening to President-elect Obama speak recently was that he is already contradicting himself, as well as going back on some of his campaign promises. For instance, when asked about the performance of the Democratically-led majority in Congress and their hand in the development of the financial crisis, Mr. Obama has continued to respond that he “doesn’t want to look back,” and instead, he wants to look forward, focusing on the future and how to resolve this crisis for Americans. However, when asked yesterday about the crisis, he didn’t hesitate for a second to blame Bush Administration policies, essentially saying if President Bush would not have done certain things, then perhaps we would not be in this crisis. Besides the fact that it’s just petty politics that is inappropriate for a President, it certainly doesn’t contribute to looking forward to ways the crisis can be resolved.

As I was listening to yesterday’s press conference where Mr. Obama stood steps from the White House while bashing the current resident, a question struck me … what are the Democrats going to do when they don’t have Republicans or the “evil” George W. Bush to blame for all of the country’s woes?

Attempting to pass blame on to others is no way to lead, and the country needs a leader right now, perhaps more than ever. Passing blame doesn’t work for companies’ executives, household heads, or country leaders. This is something that Mr. Obama has not had the opportunity to learn yet, because he’s never served in an executive role. He will also learn quickly that although a great many number of Americans voted for him, he will still have to earn the world’s respect in leading them into serious challenges. I hope he can do this, but Mr. Obama wanted this job, so he better start acting fit to hold it, because he works for me now, as well as the other millions of Americans looking for leadership in these tough times.

This post was originally published on my blog at www.marktomarket.typepad.com