I wonder when Barack Obama will realize that he is President? I almost want to grab him by the shoulders and, emulating my good friend Mark Doyle, say "Dude! You made it. You're President. There's no other step up. Of the effin' United States of America. Duuuuuude...you're President."
Cause I don't think he acts like it. Or that he is President of all of us, not just reliable voting blocs who also give him money to fuel his political career. But, he needs no more fuel. He will never face a primary again where narrow interests become everything. We all know that no one votes in primaries, which is why primaries become exercises in extreme views supported by the radicals in each party.
Republican primaries are exercises in who hates abortion more, who wants mandatory prayers in school before each hour of creationism study, who wants to require the equivalent of a heavy weapons squad in every house, who wants union organizers sent to Guantanamo, and pledges to support any Supreme Court candidate filmed reciting the Constitution from memory while picketing Planned Parenthood Headquarters.
And, Democratic primaries? They too are less than what is suggested in Norman Rockwell's 'Four Freedoms' series.
Did you know that the only people who actually vote in Democratic primaries are SEIU members, the Reverend Al Sharpton's book circle, the news staffs of CNN and MSNBC, and Katie Couric? No one else is really interested. The issues: the right to choose...anything, anytime, all the time (and the government will pay for it!), tax the rich, tax the almost rich, tax the kind of rich, tax taxes, tax taxed taxers, unionize anybody productive (what are they thinking?), and regulate and require user fees for all human behaviors that are any fun,
But, Barack made it through. Not just through garden-variety brass knuckle Democratic primaries...but Southside Chicago Democratic primaries. Seemingly with his spirit intact, his countenance unlined, and his character almost un-Rezko'ed. Against all odds, and the Clinton machine on steroids, he made it through the Democratic Primary for President as well. And, just a few generations removed from slavery, he, the son of a Kansan and a Kenyan, was elected to the highest office in this land.
Think about it. From community organizer to State Senator to Presidential candidate to, gulp, President in ten years or so.
I use to see him at the East Bank Club, a very nice guy. My son played basketball with him. And now he's President of the United States.
So, duuuuuuuuuuuuude...you made it. No more having to make sweet heart deals. No more rubber chicken dinners. No more long trips to Springfield or dozing in boring Senate hearings as improbably black haired octogenarians argue over post offices and earmarks.
It's like Chevy Chase telling Danny Noonan in Caddyshack, "be the ball, Danny."
Barack... be the President. Quit screwing around thinking like a candidate. Think like a President.
Have NASA study 'climate change?' Heck, why don't you have them study aliens from Gamma Cephei? A human on Mars by 2023? Be the President. Challenge. Lift people up. Do a Kennedy...put someone on Mars by the end of your second term! Make it a pledge. Make it something people all over the world could marvel at:
"When I deliver my state of the Union speech in the third year of my second term, I will do a live hookup to a team of American, Israeli and Palestinian astronauts who will be setting up camp at the foot of Olympus Mons, the tallest mountain in the solar system, on our sister planet Mars!"
You won dude. You can do it.
The heck with cap and trade and buying General Motors and Chrysler...make a speech in the Rose Garden some summer's day (without teleprompters...Dude, you're President, it's ok to make mistakes...it makes you more human) and offer a billion dollar prize for the first American gearhead who designs a car engine powered by discarded plastic grocery bags that can win the Daytona 500. The only criteria: citizenship, tattoos, and a high school diploma.
Come on, Mr. President. Set big goals and challenge us. That's what great Presidents do.
And, another thing: people see through this crass, political, class warfare stuff. We're Americans. We all came here to be successful. They wouldn't let us be successful back in Europe and Africa and Asia. We all want happiness and healthy kids and a nice house and the feeling that we are fully capable of defining our own success without government regulation or oversight. You don't need class warfare politics. You won. You're the President of the rich and the poor.
Here's a Presidential thought: what about a bit more E Pluribus Unum and less pandering to voting blocs? Less the United States of Me-ism and more we are all in this together.
You can do it dude. You're President. Let's go to Mars. Let's let people be what they choose to be, fat or skinny; smokers or non smokers; burger eaters or vegans...you'd be surprised...they'll all turn out to be good citizens.
They always have.
The next time Rahm or David or Valerie comes into your office to ask you about doing a favor for this guy or screwing that guy in the great tradition of Chicago politics try saying:
"Dudes and Dudettes, this is Washington, not Chicago. I'm President, not Mayor nor Governor nor even a candidate. I am the leader of the free world and I've discovered that there really is a free and unfree world out there, and my decisions have consequences. I'm Rush Limbaugh's President just as sure as I'm Nancy Pelosi's. From today on, I'm going to out Daniel Burnham, old Dan Burnham...I'm only interested in big plans. Big American plans."
"Now get Putin in here on Thursday, Netanyahu and that Hamas dude on Friday, and Governor Palin on Saturday...I want this crap sorted out."