Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Does The President Do?

David Frum has the answer.
Among other things:

-- Presidents set goals and priorities. That's easily said, but hard to do. The natural temptation is to accumulate goals and priorities atop each other. (See Clinton, Bill, State of the Union addresses of.) But if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. (See Clinton, Bill, presidency of.) To govern is to choose. To choose requires extreme mental discipline: This I do first, this I do second if I can, this must wait for third, these next 997 things probably don't get done at all.

-- Presidents align means with ends. Congress is the place where the American people register their wishes: Generous Medicare and Social Security benefits and low taxes; global military predominance but no casualties; perfect airline security with no personal inconvenience. It's the president's job to bring the system into balance, to set budgets, to force tradeoffs.

-- Presidents are deal-makers. There's a story told about Harry Truman in the last days of his presidency, awaiting the transition to Dwight Eisenhower after the election of 1952. Truman supposedly said to an aide, "Poor Ike. He'll sit at this desk. He'll say 'do this' and 'do that.' And nothing will happen! It won't be like the Army at all." The president cannot tell Congress what to do. He can't tell a governor what to do. He can't even safely tell the CIA what to do. (If they don't like it, they'll leak against him.) And that's even before we get to foreign governments. A president doesn't get what he wants. A president gets what he negotiates.
Maybe what Americans are hearkening for is the analytic ability and negotiating prowess of the former CEO of America's most successful management consulting firm. And just possibly, Republican primary voters have the self-control not to let the controversy over Romney's health care record cloud their respect for their front-runner's genuine executive abilities.


Anonymous said...

Romney is a humble fellow. He doesnt care for photo ops like riding a motorcycle into a parade hes not invited to. Romney has made his case each time in his interviews. Palin just uses talking points she saw on fox news the night before. She will not run for president, shes just after the spotlight, money, fame, recognition. The media is obsessed over her because they want her to run against obama, because they know Obama will then surely be given a second term.

Anonymous said...

I visited C4p for the first time today and posted a comment about why my preferred candidate romney was more qualified over palin. It wasnt a negative comment, but a fair one that gave my opinion the difference between a romney and palin administration. My comment was immediately flagged for removal and i received a lot of negative replies and was called names for even disagreeing with ms palin. I guess if your not for palin, you cant post there.

hamaca said...

Anon...what did you hope to achieve by going to a site that is dedicated to advancing the cause of Sarah Palin and telling them that Romney is better?

kelly said...

Frum is right.

I'll bet most of these pundits have mentioned each of the non-candidates names more than Romney's.

The punchline will be that Romney will be the nominee and there isn't a damn thing they can do about it.

Right Wingnut said...


There are a few trolls who have been commenting on C4P for weeks now. As long as they're respectful, they're allowed to stay. In fact, our own Doug NYC GOP posted a few comments over there about two weeks ago. He made it clear that he supported Romney. He didn't get flagged.

You must have really pissed someone off.

Anonymous said...

Boy,I used to dislike this guy...but now I'm starting to like him and maybe even love him. Hehehe. Great job, David. You did your homework well.

Doug NYC GOP said...

The odds of my comments getting flagged or myself getting banned, were diminshed, I Am Guessing, due to the fact I was responding to an already somewhat coherent and rational poster. Had I gone in straight up, I am sure the results would be far different.

But I'm glad my commnets got some exposure none the less. :)