President Abraham Lincoln encountered grave challenges that shattered the union, and prayerfully, he was able to significantly restore it. It was far more than “The Late Unpleasantness” as The War Between The States is sometimes called. America is still scared with a lingering agony as a consequence. Civil wars are always painful. Mr. Obama did not come to the presidency in Washington, DC to advance his agenda with blue skies and smooth sailing, but with multiple crises in banking, insurance, auto industry, real estate, the world economy, 3 wars and more.
Now is President Obama’s opportunity to seize “the cutting edge” by taking bold and decisive leadership, a strategy that he has not yet effectively used. It would take Lincoln-like leadership to do it.
The president could stun “both sides of the aisle,” and indeed America by addressing real budget cuts plus addressing entitlements.
This kind of leadership is not without precedent. Remember, President Lyndon Johnson’s career in the senate where he sought to obstruct civil rights. Preconceived persuasions and obvious scars did not prevent Johnson’s 180 degree turn in his presidency. He transfigured the Democrat Party in 1964 shocking his base and the country’s political perspective when he championed the Civil Rights Act. Whatever your view of him may be, I think we can all agree that this was a “signature moment” for President Johnson’s legacy.
What President Obama does and says now frames his lasting legacy. That’s my message to him. It is clear that Barack Obama paid more attention to launch his 2012 election campaign today rather than to launch debt reductions through cuts in spending and taxes. That action would increase revenue, create jobs and stimulate the economy. If President Obama uses the leadership of his office and does a 180 embracing his opposition’s legislation with real spending cuts that the US House approved, he pulls off a legacy not unlike President Johnson.
Someone will point out that President Obama needs a second chance with the American people and his Obama legacy. Hunkering down and offering escalated taxes, veiled as “contributions,” with only 1/3 of the US budget on the table for discussion will probably cost him the White House.
One can not play politics and govern the nation at the same time. Americans would appreciate enlightened leadership from the president, but it eludes Obama in the dark councils around the Oval Office. Where is the Lincoln Legacy? He wants it – and could realize it with noble presidential leadership. Will he persist or be noble?
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