Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Dear President Obama, stoop to conquer

It is no exaggeration that US presidential elections are followed around the world.  Ramesh, who has guest-posted here before, follows it quite seriously--perhaps even more than the average American voter.  The presidential debates begin tomorrow; Ramesh looks beyond that and writes:
Dear Mr. President:

Congratulations on your victory in the election. I know that the election is a few weeks away and much noise will be made before then, but it looks like this is yours to lose, and lose you will not. So, congratulations.

Instead of prepping like mad for the inconsequential debates, which frankly, is irrelevant in the larger scheme of things, you might want to give some thought as to how you will govern for the next four years. After all you don’t just want to be President. You want to go down in history as an achieving President. You want to be fondly remembered in the future.

So, consider this: Immediately after winning the election, reach out, and I mean really reach out, to the Republicans.

When they lose the elections, the Republicans will be even more hopping mad at you. Congress is likely to remain in Republican hands and they may be as obstructionist to everything you say as they have been thus far. Do you really want to fight a Sisyphean battle for four years, and be a lame duck who will be noted in history as one of the most polarising of Presidents ?

Not every Republican is a nut. Appoint one of them as your Treasury Secretary to replace the outgoing Tim Geithner. Have more Republicans in your team. Adopt some of their policies, especially in the field of economics. Cut taxes, if necessary on the nameplate, but remove exemptions to make it revenue neutral. Disregard the idea of raising taxes for the rich. Adopt some of the spending cuts that they have proposed. Maybe accept Marco Rubio’s plan on immigration reform. Accept a few of their ideas, even if you don’t personally agree with them.

The act of stopping the bitter division in the nation is almost worth any price.

You see, once you start to really reach out to them after your re‐election, you’ll cause cracks in their undying hatred of you. The nutters will start to get isolated and the pragmatists will start to come to the fore. In the language of your favorite sport, basketball, the pragmatic Republicans need an assist from you; so, stop attacking them relentlessly, even if the nutters do exactly this to you. You have to help the saner elements in the Republican Party to win. Make them win. Win a few of your own. Build the bridges, brick by brick.

It is hard. But you have to do it. If not you, no one else will. Otherwise, America, and the rest of the world, will be ill served by four years of obstructionism, hate and paralysis. It doesn’t matter who is causing this. It has to be overcome. If anybody can, it is only you.

To quote Oliver Goldsmith, stoop to conquer.

Wouldn’t it be great to see an America where people will have differences, but can discuss it rationally, and move the great country forward;
Where truly, winning the battle (the elections) is not important, but winning the war (peace and prosperity) is;
Where the extremists, in the Republican Party, and in your own, are perfectly entitled to air their views, but are ignored by the mainstream;
Where at the end of four years, irrespective of what others say, you can answer to yourself, that you did a great job;

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, decades from now, people could remember you as a great President who gave everything he got?

I wish you well and much success.

Yours sincerely,

A non‐citizen, but an ardent admirer of your country.

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