Men who’ve become president of our country have interested me for years. Not just those you like or don’t; which ones were effective or weren’t. And I’d have a single question for all of them; “Why do you want the job?”

My guess is there are as many answers as there are men and women who’ve run. Ambition, power, sincere belief he/she has something to offer, control. And likely a large ego. Always ego no matter how well-concealed. Without it, you won’t be successful..

I asked the late Sen. Frank Church (D-ID) the “why” question when he announced his abortive presidential run in the ‘70’s .

“Well,” he said, “as a senator, I’ve been on the board of directors for many years. Now, I’d like to be chairman of that board.”

A flip answer? Maybe. Maybe not. But probably as good a one as any candidate could come up with on short notice. Everyone who’s become president has his own reason and has brought his own tools to the job. Some have been effective; some not.

As an independent in ‘08, concerned with John Mc Cain’s deteriorating positions on everything and not wanting Sarah Palin to be answering that phone call at three in the morning, I voted for Barak Obama.

I did so, I think, for good reasons. Like Reagan before him, he spoke of hope and better times. Like Bush the elder, he seemed to have a grasp of issues important to me. Like Bill Clinton, he offered enthusiasm and a youthful vigor which this country badly needed.

Now, 23 months into his presidency, I still feel good about my decision. And I feel pride in the first family as the global representative of this country. But I’m greatly uncomfortable with Obama’s conduct of the political side of the job.

We have three stipulated branches of federal government: judiciary, congress and the president. Our country works best when the three are in balance. It works least when one or two gets a bit more powerful than the third. Or, as in this instance, one branch drops the ball by deferring too much to the other one or two.

Therein lies the only negative thought about my vote 23 months ago. The three co-equal pieces are out of balance. Obama has ceded power to congress and the opposition minority party and, at the moment, is in the far weaker position. We’re out of balance constitutionally.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen five strong presidents. Franklin Roosevelt, with governorship and cabinet experience plus masterful persuasion, quickly learned how to take a position and move congress his way. Missourian Harry Truman, again from the congress, was almost contrarian on some issues, took his stands and, on many issues, made congress come to him.

Bush the elder, with cabinet and congressional time, knew the fine points of how to use the power of the presidency tactically and was a persuader. Bill Clinton was impeached and could have been a caretaker president thereafter. But, with a strong personality, determination and political skill second to none, kept the balance of power and had a co-equal presidency with those who impeached him.

The strongest in my mind was Lyndon Johnson. By far. He had not only great congressional experience but he was also “master of the deal.” Persuasion? Sure. But also trickery, deceit, threats and outright political blackmail if necessary. Fortunately for the country, he used power most often to better our lot and not for personal gain. Still, despite his strength and even his legacy of historic work, he left the presidency a broken man because, even with power, he could not end the Viet Nam war.

Obama? A fine mind? Yes. A fine education? Yes. Some political experience? Yes. Youthful, grounded and comfortable with his own talents? Yes, I think. But he’s a peacemaker, not a warrior. I admire people who negotiate, accommodate and try to bring everyone together. Those are strengths of character to be sure.

But … another necessary strength in a strong leader is the warrior; the ability to fight and to kick some ass from time to time. Define a goal, marshal the troops and go for it. Obama, at least in the public conduct of his office, seems incapable of that and has paid a high price.

While he has accomplished some historic feats already … the new healthcare law for one … he and most of his party’s congressional leadership have ceded power to a minority. Even as voters have reduced his party’s congressional numbers, he’s still talking about cooperation and bipartisanship as if they existed. They haven’t. And they won’t.

I haven’t received a call from the White House asking for my opinion. Probably won’t. But, if that happens, my advice will be this. Stop trying to be a mediator. Give up on the peacemaking. Go to the nearest video store and check out a DVD of “The American President” staring Michael Douglas. Watch the last 10 minutes three times.

Then, like President Andrew Shepherd, go KICK SOME ASS!

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