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Mark Goulston, M.D. Headshot

Dear President Obama, A Few Words Before You Go Negative

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Dear President Obama,

While you are still going gently into this "good" election and before you "rage against" your opponent, you might do well to remember that Senators Clinton and McCain lost the election as much as you won it.

One of the ways they did that was to exhibit "fearful aggression." Fearful aggression is something that show dog trainers know about. It occurs when their dogs are frightened and growl and if trainers don't train it out of them, they will never win best in show.

In the 2008 election, both Senators Clinton and McCain demonstrated too much fearful aggression, which was a stark contract to your calmness and coolness under pressure and which made you appear more presidential than either of them. They appeared to be taking their frustrations too personally and exhibiting that lessened their impact. Ironically, Senator Clinton has conducted herself with such class, poise and aplomb as Secretary of State, that had she done so in 2008, she may have bested you. Smart of you to have her on your team.

I don't think of candidate Romney as a bad or angry fellow, but it is clear that his handlers and his party are revving him up to tear you down. I don't think he is comfortable either acting truly hostile or, for that matter, truly positive, because he is a dyed-in-the-wool "analytic." This works against him when Americans want to know that he cares vs. what he knows. Since I don't think he will be able to veer from this path, you can expect his discomfort in showing emotion to only worsen and as was the case with Senators Clinton and McCain, that will be your opportunity.

As the present campaign revs up and appears to be heading in a negative direction, I would urge you to keep your cool and let your strong words and passion come out most strongly when attached to your mission.

Find a way to communicate with passion what you stand and will stand up for and what you will stand up against, but stay away from too much rhetoric and/or being too evangelical (which I think too many Americans don't get). Let your negativity be tied to a calling that beckons you to improve the lot of all Americans and your commitment to stay on course to serve that end.

Do this and you have a good chance of winning "Best in 2012."

God Bless Both You and Mitt Romney, God Bless America, God Bless the World, God Bless and Guide Humanity