After the Feb 25 summit at Blair House in DC hosted by President Obama, and a day to digest what the pundits I read and listen to, here are my obervations:
I have been thinking that President Obama needs to take that big old Air Force One airplane and fly it down to Austin, Texas. Before he returns to the White House, his security detail needs to figure out how he can get to Hyde Park, NY.
Austin houses LBJ's Presidential Library. Hyde Park is FDR's.
While flying, Instead of reading the in-flight Air Magazine, he should brush up on “The Prince.”
Some of us can remember the rancor that went on when Lyndon Johnson drove the policies that led to Medicare and Medicade in the 1960’s. Far fewer of us at this point can claim to be live witnesses to what Roosevelt had to do and how he dealt with his opposition when Social Security was enacted.
Visiting these Presidential Libraries, as I have, provides a great deal of enlightenment. FDR and LBJ both were larger than life personalities. And their policy initiatives were often opposed quite stridently by the loyal opposition. Both men cajoled, schmoozed, compromised, and then decided. And enacted major new initiatives.
It has been a long time since I read “The Prince,” and I must admit that I found much of it to be quite disturbing. Still and all, it holds its lessons about what a head of state does.
Unlike his immediate predecessor, President Obama has attempted to take a high road in dealing with Congress and the “other side of the aisle.” As they say, it takes 2 to tango, and the GOP has chosen to take an entrenched, non-cooperative approach to dealing with this President. W ignored the Democrats, and got away with it for most of his term, until his policies were held to the light of day and found to be flawed.
Obama must take an LBJ and FDR approach on health care. And he has to take a W approach on how to get it through. There is no “high road,” there is no middle ground between “starting over,” (how many times have our policy makers “started over” in the last 100 years on this matter?) and enacting reforms that are desperately needed.
Read “The Prince,”
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