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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/7/11

Barack Obama and the Three Envelopes

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In the three-envelope story, the new CEO continues to have problems, so he rips open envelope two and reads, "Reorganize."


As he begins the second half of his first term, President Obama is reorganizing.  He's announced that David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, and Larry Summers are leaving the White House staff.  And others will follow.


But it's not enough for Barack Obama to replace his staff; he needs to recognize his own part in the failures of the past two years.  Alter cogently summarizes Barack Obama's strengths and weaknesses.  He's very bright, perhaps the most capable President since FDR.  Nonetheless, Obama is not tactical, does not have the Bill Clinton gift for translating big national problems into words the average voter can understand, is not as political as he needs to be -" in 2010 Obama had a weak relationship with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the rest of the Democratic Party, and does not surround himself with strong enough people.


In the conclusion of the three-envelope story, the situation disintegrates and the CEO turns to the final envelope: "Prepare for your successor and make three envelopes."


While it's not clear that Barack Obama is doomed to be a one-term President, it's obvious changes need to be made.  Near the end of Alter's book, he notes that Obama is a fan of the Chicago Bulls professional basketball team and saw them change from an average team, dominated by superstar Michael Jordan, to a winning team, where Jordan became more of a team player.  That's the transition the President needs to make if he wants to improve his chances of reelection.  Obama has to build a stronger team, particularly in the area of messaging and political strategy or he's going to have to prepare three envelopes.

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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