04/26/11 — Too early for this: For Obama, re-election campaign ought to be low priority right now

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Too early for this: For Obama, re-election campaign ought to be low priority right now

No one should really be surprised that President Barack Obama is already on the re-election path.

This president knows he is facing an uphill battle -- and he wants to make sure he has his base in place before the real talk begins, and before gas prices get any higher.

But the president's early Internet launch of his grassroots campaign brings up some interesting questions -- ones that have been the topic of conversation for decades when it comes to campaigning and presidents.

To win a campaign takes money and exposure -- something it is easy to get as the commander in chief and one of the most recognizable public figures in the world. So, there is a built-in advantage to being the one who can call a press conference and claim prime-time television time whenever you want to talk to the American people.

That is the way this game works -- and all presidents have used this advantage. It is nothing new for an incumbent to seek more TV time as an election year approaches.

But what has people scratching their heads -- and wondering out loud -- about this election cycle is the ferocity with which President Obama has launched his campaign.

In the midst of what can only be termed enormous problems with our economy, our budget and revolution in the Middle East, he is holding a town hall meeting at Facebook. Is anyone actually foolish enough to think that there was an innocent reason for that move? Not when you have launched a massive Internet campaign.

So the question arises -- how much time should the president, the vice president, Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden be allowed to launch their re-election bid and when is such an action appropriate?

There are some who say that the campaign expenses will be paid privately -- and we are sure they will, except for the Secret Service protection and other costs associated with the travel of the Obama and Biden families that is required because of their position.

You can bet they won't be flying coach -- or renting their own jet to travel or reimbursing the government for the costs associated with their security detail.

Starting to make you squirm a bit?

The president has no business starting his 2012 campaign bid now. There is too much to do and too much important work to focus on -- and quite frankly, it is a little hard to believe he would consider it appropriate in light of all the serious issues this country faces.

And, by the way, this is not a matter of fairness.

The Republicans have the chance to do the same, to be more organized, to launch an Internet campaign of their own, to try to reach the people with the issues right now.

And lest they think that all they have to do is sit back and wait for the Obama policies they disagree with to fail, they'd best think again.

2012 is not really going to be about charisma and lofty messages of hope and change, that's for sure, but it is also not going to be about finger-pointing, blame games with no solid proposals for the future.

To reach the voters this time, there has to be trust, confidence and the very distinct impression that this next leader will have the gumption to get the job done, no matter whose feelings get stepped on.

Americans do not want a campaigner-in-chief or a complainer-in-waiting.

So we should start by holding President Obama accountable right now -- full disclosure and scrutiny on how he is spending our money and his time.

Published in Editorials on April 26, 2011 10:36 AM