A letter to the new president

Published 6:22 pm Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama,

At the end of a historical run for the presidency, let me offer some advice to you.

Much has been made of your associations with convicted domestic terrorists, country-hating pastors and intellectual subversives.

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Dump them overboard. Their collective “wisdom” isn’t and will lead you into policies that would harm you and the country.

Also, you speak eloquently on behalf of all Americans, which gives many of them hope.

But remember, folks who have achieved success in this country are Americans, too.

They’ve worked hard to get where they are, and you would gut them of the fruits of their labor, and somewhat callously.

So take care when devising new tax plans. The Founding Fathers knew that the greatest potential for tyranny lay in tax law. As Jams Madison wrote in the Federalist Paper 10:

“The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice.”

Also, while patronage is a time-honored and –tested practice, be sure to select good and honest people to advise you.

Beware of those with their own agendas, especially if they diverge from the wishes of the people.

Too many newly elected politicians – Presidents Carter and Wilson, a whole host of mayors from New York’s David Dinkins to Detroit’s Coleman Young to Selma’s mayors, Charles Hester, James Perkins and Joe Smitherman – have taken presumably high goals into office.

But through indifference, tunnel vision and, in some cases, arrogance, these politicians are widely thought to have failed.

I would contend also that they lost sight of the folks who didn’t vote for them. They did little to address their concerns.

(Particularly disturbing to me is the indifference Obama has shown to the ultimate non-voter – the unborn, but that’s for another time.)

Politicians that take such a course are digging themselves into a hole.

President Nixon and Clinton adjusted mid-presidency, appealed to all voters and won a second term.

So, Mr. Obama, now that voters have chosen you to lead the nation, then lead the whole nation – not just your supporters.

Chris Warden is a professor at the Hall School of Journalism at Troy University. He is a former editorial page editor at Investor’s Business Daily.