Terry Paulson

As a conservative Republican, I realize that our brand is tarnished, but you don't win people to your cause by attacking a president who has not even had a chance to govern. The blind, partisan attacks on George Bush should be an embarrassment to responsible Democrats. Let’s disagree without demonizing presidents who give so much of their lives to lead us. At times, I've confronted Bush’s policies. More often, I've supported him. I most likely will confront Obama more than I will support his actions, but he deserves respect, not blanket rejection.

When Bill Clinton took office, I started a very empowering habit of writing my president every month. That means eight years of letters to Clinton, eight years to Bush, and, soon, at least four with Barack Obama. I work to keep my letters constructive—at times supportive and at times critical. After one very supportive letter to President Clinton, I received a request for donations. I wasn’t that supportive! If you're a citizen, your president deserves to hear from you. Don't just vote; voice your views.

Harry Truman once said, "The White House is the finest prison in the world." On a campaign, you speak mostly to cheering crowds. As president, the landscape quickly changes. Some supporters become impatient—they want changes now in payback for their support. Those who lost are gearing up for battles yet to be fought.

Interviewed after an Obama campaign event in Sarasota, Florida, Peggy Joseph emotionally summarized what it means to her for Barack Obama to be president: "I never thought this day would happen. I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I, if I help him [Barack], he’s gonna help me!"

Obama campaigned on delivering a "changed" America. Because of the economic challenges America faces, he’s appropriately asking for patience. But because of the bailouts of the last few months, corporations and citizens are already lining up with hands outstretched. Obama won't find as many cheering crowds or endearing letters in Washington. Truman said it best, "If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog." Obama’s plan to bring a family dog into the White House sounds like a good move in light of the high expectations he will face!

As a member of the loyal opposition, I'm ready to respectfully support him where I can and challenge were I must.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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