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Archive for Friday, November 5, 2004

Clout

Presidents too often have neglected to use one of the best tools in the political arsenal

November 5, 2004

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The president of the United States has enormous clout and influence and it is said that too few people in the Oval Office have taken full advantage of that. Let's hope our re-elected president, George W. Bush, recognizes this marvelous situation and uses it to the benefit of the nation and its people.

Some years back, former Sen. Bob Dole, eventually to become a Republican vice presidential and presidential candidate, visited the Journal-World offices and discussed what he considered one of the major "instruments" of the chief executive.

Dole opined that in troubled times, such as we face now, whoever is sitting in the president's chair should call in all major political leaders, regardless of party, and include them in a no-holds-barred discussion of crisis management. It should make no difference whether the issue is health care, the economy, our armed forces and our war activities, anything crucial. When major action is needed with the best and most experienced minds available to help resolve issues, "the call" should go out and the president should take full charge.

How many times has that happened in recent years?

Dole's view is that the president should lay out the problems at hand, call for input on how to formulate a workable plan and then move down the paths to achievement.

He could say something like: "All right, people, we have a problem and we're going to solve it. We are going to do it without partisanship and politicking. The best interests of the country are at stake and I'm going to take charge of seeing that we get something meaningful done.

"If Congress needs to act, I'm going to make it clear I expect wise and prudent moves. If other agencies have to cooperate and report (such as the FBI and CIA), I'm going to make sure that happens. The nation needs this and I'm going to leave no stone unturned until something positive happens. I want to hear anything you can contribute and I'll consider all of it. I need all the help I can get. Now get with it. We'll meet again soon to see where we are going and what we need to do to get there."

It would be difficult to envision a time when there is a greater need for our sitting president to take full and intelligent command and make inroads to pass the severe tests ahead. George W. Bush does not need to wait until January when he will be re-inaugurated to get cracking. He has people such as Sen. John Kerry whom he defeated at the polls and there are a lot of other able and dedicated people who would welcome unity, action and a greater national sense of purpose.

Based on election results, a majority of Americans are pleased with the Bush victory, but there is a severe split in the country with many people disillusioned and polarized. Some are fearful and want strong, forceful and imaginative leadership. What better way for George W. Bush to show them that he plans to lead than to call in everyone with any capability of doing what is best and making them perform important tasks?

As the experienced Sen. Dole pointed out, the presidency has incredible impact whether the man in the Oval Office realizes it or not. Perhaps Dole ought to stop by the White House and remind George W. Bush of this great influence and entreat him to put it to the best possible use immediately.

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