May 22, 2011
By eliseblalock BRONZE, McDonough, Georgia
eliseblalock BRONZE, McDonough, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The Education of a President Summary
Peter Baker, the author of the article, “The Education of the President,” starts off by describing his visit with the president and how he truly had change the decoration of the place. From Bush’s yellow carpets to Obama’s more subtle taupe carpet, the place has transformed. The president joked that Arianna Huffington didn’t like the décor change. Baker talk about how the newly elected Congress will definitely not be as nice and “friendly” with the president as the former Congress was. Obama plans to make many changes in the next two years after this Democratic loss in Congress. The changes are said to be called “Obama 2.0.” The president told Baker that he was proud of his broad direction presidency and had no regrets about it. He said that he had learned many “tactical lessons” from the past two years though from public works projects not being exactly “shovel-ready” to wishing he would’ve “let the Republicans insist on tax cuts” rather than jumping on board too (with his stimulus plan).
Obama said that most of all he had learned that you have to play by Washington’s rules if you want to win Washington. He said their problem was probably spending too much time trying to get the policy right, rather than the politics. He said that to have success in the presidency you must master policy and politics together, not just one or another. Obama is described as loosing contact with the people who put him in office and not protecting and following through with promises. Baker brings up the lady who was “tired of defending Obama.” Obama planned on his election becoming a turning point for Americans and a time in history when people will be able to say that was the time when “we began to provide care for the sick and jobs for the jobless; when the oceans began to rise again” and the world began to heal. So perhaps the fact that Obama became disconnected was no surprise.

“Four of the past five presidents previous to Obama,” where governors and came to Washington vowing to fix it. These presidents quickly realized that Washington “defies the easy” and rarely mentions change. Even though Obama was a Senator when his campaign of vowing the same thing began, he soon came to the realization that these former presidents had. Obama is still not comfortable in Washington, from the politics and theater to the White House itself. Yet Obama needed to redecorate the Oval Office is described as a luxury in a time of economic crisis. Just like when he thought it was silly to wear a flag pin, just to show his patriotism; until one day, he showed wearing one because a lot of criticism had been started over his refusal to wear one. Another example is that people weren’t sure Obama was Christian when he made the claim that it was enough for him to pray in the White House, until one day he showed up publically at a church with “photographers at tow.” It is important when winning over a large crowd, especially a politically large crowd, to favor the voters and not to try and change too much of what people are accustomed to with the way a president is “supposed to act.”

He sold the idea of himself during his campaign and maybe he can get office again for the next six years rather than just two. He chose very wisely during his campaign to sell himself to the voter rather than any specific policy, so that the voter could fill in the blanks as they chose. For him in 2008, this approach worked. Maybe it will work again in 2012. Who know if he can manage to do this again? It is the ultimate test. The lines that voters filled in earlier are now being filled in by Obama with each choice he makes and each choice he doesn’t make. Obama described himself by saying that he “start[s] slow, but finish[es] strong.” He will have to have some big finish if he expects to have a strong influence like he had wanted.

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