I make every attempt to be fair and balanced when I write my articles each week. I think it is important to be fair in my approach to covering stories so that people can have facts and an objective voice that I hope helps in coming to conclusions about who to vote for and keep up with issues. This week though my finger is pointed directly at President Obama for doing something that seems to have some people including me disappointed.
It irritates me that President Obama’s campaign is putting out advertisements online that show how you can “win dinner with the President” via lottery but only by contributing to his campaign. If he was a rock star this would make sense, but he is an elected leader.This type of behavior has monarchy written all over it and creates the idea that there is President Obama, and then all of us regular people down here.
His campaign website says they offer a chance to register without contributing. “You may enter by contributing to Sponsor here or click here to enter without contributing.” However, when you click “here” to enter without contributing, and after giving your information, you are routed to a second page where you are in fact asked again to donate money.What it seems to suggest is that if I do not give him money he would not hear my concerns.
The President should have dinner regularly with a large cross section of citizens for his own benefit.Perhaps he can then lead because he has his finger on the pulse of real Americans needs and not the needs of the small demographic contributing to polls.Anyone can sit down with a yes man who pays you for your time and not gain much but an inflated ego. He campaigned as accessible in many ways but since taking office has not been.I have personally experienced the coldness of the administration.While calling his press office for information on a story I was treated like I was doing something wrong for calling, put off, told to send an email instead, and then my email ignored.
For a number of reasons I do think the President should be kept at a safe distance and the office itself sheltered from public inundations. Our Country has come too far to go back to the times of Andrew Jackson where the public enjoyed open access to the white house and trashed furniture, using the house to create “guess what I did” stories back home. In the 1880’s President James Garfield would allot several hours two or more days a week to the public desires and openly meet with them.On several occasions, Charles Guiteau, the man who would shoot Garfield and inflict the wound that led to an infection and his passing came in to see the president. At various points during our history anyone and everyone could walk up to the Executive Mansion and get on the schedule to see the President.With that said the President spending some time with those removed from the political world could benefit the Presidents’ vision and give him a sounding board for his ideas and course corrections to his vision.
Let me take a slight detour to point out that like many I too was full of hope and optimism when President Obama took office.He represented a paradigm shift, so we thought, and initially was full of the spirit of bi-partisanship and vigor.There are facts sufficient to show that he was trying to work together with Congress and Republicans.For example, a round table at the white house attempting to work through the differences in the healthcare plan required him to put a lot of political capital on the line. It was sincere. Many appreciate that he kicked the door in with extremely controversial healthcare legislation because no president since at least the Truman administration was able to.With the healthcare laws currently residing in the Supreme Court that door may get pulled closed again but will undoubtedly at least be left open a crack, which can be viewed as progress.He also dealt with Bin Laden, which many viewed as a triumph.He brought combat troops home from Iraq which was a campaign promise easy to keep considering the date had been established years earlier for troop withdraw. The point is I respect the office and each President does some good.However, the dinner lottery is in poor taste if you ask me.If I were President I would invite random citizens at least once a month to have dinner and hear what is going on outside of the Washington bubble.
If I were invited to dinner I would share with him that his small business initiatives don’t really work and hardly go beyond rhetoric.I would tell him that the American people want bipartisan effort and debt reduction.We are resilient and do not care about what may be lost if he were to cut spending.Cut it anyway! We would tell him to step up and lead by his principals and not the polls.President G.W. Bush was widely hated when he left office but even his harshest critics have to admit that his decisions were based on what he thought was right and not polls.The problem with polls is that they never come close to catching the full spectrum of Americans views.So in a way, a President that pays attention to polls is catering to special interests.
I do not want a chance to win dinner with the President if I have to pay him to do it.However, if I sat with him and he proved to be a leader of the American people and listened to what we had to say I would not only contribute but I would get everyone I know to give.Perhaps his campaign can go back to the drawing board on new ways to combat the large Super PAC’s in fundraising.Having the American people pay him for a chance at dinner is hardly grassroots.