It is time to be presidential


At his news conference on Wednesday, President Obama at least gave lip service to bipartisanship and compromise. But the first words out of John Boehner’s mouth made it crystal clear that the next Congress will be hopelessly gridlocked. The newly elected Republicans and the remaining Democrats are more radicalized than before the elections. And despite all the campaigning about the national debt, about the only thing the GOP seems prepared to discuss is cutting taxes.

So the big question is: What does Obama think voters were saying in Tuesday’s election? Certainly, voters are unhappy, but if he and his advisors think that their unhappiness was caused by government ineffectiveness rather than government overreaching or a general economic malaise, there’s plenty of room for him to maneuver on his own. He could take this opportunity to exercise his executive powers – a step he has been unwilling to take in the past 2 years.

In my opinion, Obama easily could start by getting much tougher on banks. The most important thing he has to communicate is strength. He needs to think about ways he can lead the country without his fate being tied to the Hill. And he could start by using his regulatory authority, enforcement powers, and prerogatives as commander-in-chief to make decisive moves that can’t be sabotaged by Republicans in Congress. Very few Congressmen of either party are going to have the intestinal fortitude to publicly defend the banking industry – and heaven knows it’s in need of real reform!

Once Obama has done that, he can maneuver for adequate implementation of the healthcare reform act. The administration has a vast capacity to act to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, regardless of what happens in Congress. So let’s see what Mr. Obama is made of.

The views and opinions expressed by Perspectives contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.


  • I cannot agree with either Ubersmom or whoever made the comment about gridlock. The problem is a pathetic, spineless wavering. Certainly we don’t have to worry about an ‘executive’ ptresident taking over anything! We could use a leader with a spine!!

  • Louise Moondancer
    November 24, 2010 4:14 am

    What I (as an American Citizen) am totally tired of is POLITICS! It appears that there is not one leader in the bunch. They’re getting paid and getting health insurance and all they are concerned about is keeping their jobs. Though I may appear to be a cockeyed optimist…maybe a true leader will rise from the crowd who has a true desire to help us get our act together, care about our fututre generations and put the kabosh on rampant greed!

  • According to George Will on the ubiquitous Sunday morning talk shows-gridlock is good–I’m not sure for what, but that is coming from the mouth of a conservative commentator. What this election also indicates is that a lot of people are looking for simplistic solutions–and no one seems to have clear ideas about what needs to be done. I recommend close persual of the recommendations of the co-chairs of the commision on the deficit. All of the suggestions make sense–thus will be shot down

  • I believe the elections results indicate that utilizing Executive powers and bypassing the Legislative Branch of our government is exactly what American Voters do not want.
    ie: “Deem to Pass” Healthcare.
    “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States.” — Sen. Barack Obama, March 31, 2008

  • While the banking industry definitely needs to be ‘cleaned up’, health care reform needs to be implemented — and the Republican leadership is vowing to underfund it. So, where’s health care reform now?

  • If Obama follows Curtin’s advice, he will clearly be acting against the wishes of the American people – whose chief wish is that he be replaced by a Republican – and Republican will do!

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