Friday, June 8, 2012

Best Laid Plans: The Reality of New Presidents

With several new leaders being elected throughout Europe and the possibility of Mitt Romney winning the presidential election in the United States in November, I thought it was time for an early June reality check.

Many of these elected leaders, particularly in the European case, ran on and won because of popular platforms of increased spending on social programs. These are great for election campaigns, but politicians are often slapped down to reality by national and global events pretty quickly.

Campaign rhetoric doesn’t look so great when your confronting wars or an economy that’s on the verge of utter ruin. There comes a point when presidents become victims of their own expectations.

The greatest example of this point is President Obama. He entered into office promising hope and change. Instead, we had a bruising health care fight, a continued economic slog and a Congress that moves with the swiftness of a sloth, and can’t really agree on much of anything.

Now, President Obama is in a dogfight with Mitt Romney for a second term.

That new presidents enter office with big ideas and ambition is not bad, just the nature of the office. But the people who vote for politicians should really lower the expectations and remember the difference between running for office and actually occupying said office.

It also would not hurt the candidates themselves to remember this lesson. After all, they are the ones facing the voters, who will make their decisions based upon expectations and circumstance.

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