Today is November 7, 2008, and this is Five and Change. Today, Barack Obama had his first press conference as President Elect. It is not my intention to cover solely President Obama with this podcast, however, this is a presidential transition, and so, it worth spending extra time on.
In my life so far, there have been three presidential transitions; from Reagan to Bush in ‘89, from Bush to Clinton in ‘93, and from Clinton to W. Bush in ‘01. I only really have memories of the last two; I was in sixth grade for Bush to Clinton. I remember my Dad telling me how the country would realize what a mistake we made by electing a Democrat. What followed were perhaps eight of the most prosperous and successful years in this country’s history. Dad is now essentially a Democrat.
We then elected Bush, and what followed were perhaps eight of the least prosperous and successful years this country has seen in quite some time. I don’t think this has to do with policy. I think it has to do with leadership.
The American people were annoyed by the Clinton scandal. We impeached him, and yet we never actually lost faith in the way he ran the government. There simply wasn’t evidence to suggest that he was doing a bad job – the economy was decent, people made a living wage, we could all afford gas, and the wars we fought were handled quickly and competently.
We lost faith in President Bush. Military families might tell you something different, but we the people as a whole, after the reality of the post-9/11 world set in, lost faith. The economy was slowly struggling. The living wage was eroding. Gas prices rose, and rose, and rose. The wars we fought were rife with controversy and for years, leadership seemed nowhere to be found.
Not everybody lost faith. But I believe that when a critical mass of people don’t believe in or trust their leadership, no policy change is going to fix our problems. So this presidential transition is particularly important, because no matter who is President after Barack Obama, only Barack can restore our faith in leadership now and into the near future.
So I leave you with this snippet of the first press conference. This has been Five and Change, I’m Paul DeLeeuw, and I’ll see you on Monday.