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Award winning journalist Gary Baumgarten hosts the News Talk Online show on He asks critical questions, and invites people from all around the world to talk directly to his newsmaker guests using Paltalk's voice over IP technology. Gary came to Paltalk as director of news and programming from CNN where he was the radio bureau chief and correspondent in New York for a decade, where he covered, among other things, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Hurricane Katrina. He was previously reporter and assistant news director at CBS all news radio station WWJ in Detroit. Prior to that he was managing editor at Detroit Radio News Service and a reporter for the Jackson (MI) Citizen-Patriot, the Detroit News and a number of weekly newspapers. Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users. News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk Radio to cable systems serving an additional 12 million households.


OCTOBER 1, 2011 6:44PM

'He's not MY president'

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He's your president too, even if you didn't vote for him. Obama for America - California photo


“He’s not MY president,” someone wrote in response to a comment made by an Obama supporter on my Facebook wall.

“I didn’t vote for him.”

Somehow I find the words more than a little troubling as they are reflective of a divisive mindset that’s been sweeping the nation for at least a decade now. (Yes, there were those who uttered the same words with regard to George W. Bush as well. And probably Clinton before him. Etc.)

Political battles in the United States are hard fought. As they should be. And during campaigns, some awfully strong discourse takes place. As it should.

But one great thing about our republic is that once the dust settles on Election Night, the country comes together. Or, at least, it should.

This is not a country run by dictators after all. One side wins. The other side loses. The victors are then in charge.

The person elected president of the United States is charged with being the president to all Americans. Not just to those who voted for him.

Imagine a president who refused, for example, to allow FEMA to assist a state that was hit by a natural disaster just because his opponent won in that state. If that were to occur, then, I suppose people would be correct in saying that Obama was not their president. But it doesn’t.

You may not like Obama. You may not vote for his reelection. But until his final term is completed and another is sworn in, like it or not, he is your president. Yours and mine. Whether we voted for him or not.

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Although a president in power assumes control of policies and those policies are given force by the possession office that does not mean that everybody must agree with those policies. Popular opinion still can sway decisions and an executive sensitive to conflicting viewpoints of those governed is one that is properly using the office. Nobody is "possessed" by the presidency and the rough and tumble of policy and reaction is the normal dynamic of the proper democratic process.
"He’s not MY president, I didn't vote for him."

I actually did vote for him, but he's n0t my president. Barack Obama has proven that he's not very interested in the concerns of working class Americans, but that he IS interested in continuing the erosion of our civil rights begun under the Bush administration and in doing what Wall Street and the corporate sector want him to do. That he was elected is all well and good, but he's not my president.
I did not vote for him. But he is still my president. He is our president. And while he is in office, I want him to do the best job he can for the American people. That does not mean that the electorate should be silent. And it does not mean that the president should ignore the will of the people. But until he has served his term... he is still our president.
I wonder what Mr Baumgarten is trying to imply with that rather powerful little possessive word "my". It's such a neat little nebulous word with all sorts of amoebic pseudopods reaching into questionable areas. Does he mean that when a huge number of voters numbed by the massive cruel deceptive idiocies of the previous administration fell into the arms of a possible outright liar in the promises we have no idea if he intended to keep or even believed he was capable of keeping won him the presidency everybody in the country is pledged to fall into a hypnotic trance and accept the outrageous failures to live up to any of those promises? Are we supposed to drool and grin in appreciation that at least the herd of mentally challenged baboons in opposition are not totally vandalizing the country? What does that neat little word "my" imply? Slavery?
He is MY president...and even though I thought George W. Bush was a blight on the planet, when he held the office, he was my president at that time.
Well, Frank, since you are so eager to use the possessive pronoun, is that your Congress and your Supreme Court which is acting so oddly? Are those your cops spraying peaceful bystanders with pepper spray in NYC? How much of all that do you own.
Why not accept a neutral "the" and let it go at that?
Jan, the possessive "my" was not "my" statement. It was that of the person I was quoting.
Your words:
"You may not like Obama. You may not vote for his reelection. But until his final term is completed and another is sworn in, like it or not, he is your president. Yours and mine. Whether we voted for him or not."
Thanks. He is my president even though I didn't vote for him and I do understand that you are using words to communicate and not to play some sophomoric, 'we're all on drugs and bein deep', game.
What's all this prejudice against games?
I didn't vote for anyone but still consider any man in the office to be my president--our president.
The word "my" has a sense of endorsement about it that is not trivial.
He is our President and my President, but we're not his constituency.

I think that sums it up well.
Perhaps it can be put in a commercial sense. People who voted for what Obama claimed he was prepared to do paid for him with their votes. In a commercial agreement when you pay for something you expect delivery. There was no delivery. To claim something, you must have it. Those who paid with their votes did not get delivery, someone else took delivery. It is those who obviously own the president and can claim he is theirs.
Jan, I hate to ask this but are you a US citizen? an ex-pat or what?
You live in Finland..yes?

If you are not a US citizen then the answer should be simple for you. He is not my president because I didn't vote for anyone.
No problem. I am a US citizen living in Finland and am appalled at Obama's performance.
Jan, I too am appalled at Obama's performance. I do not think that there is a super president waiting in the wings to replace him. We can only hope.
Let me clarify my earlier comment here: Obama is, technically and legally, my president. He is not, however, someone who is willing to fight for my well-being, so from my perspective he isn't my president. Also, to Ande; hope isn't a plan. We can hope ourselves to death but it won't change a single solitary thing.

Someone took me to task on my blog a few days ago for criticizing Obama, saying:

"The problem is not Barack Obama; the problem is the extreme right. Obama has a conscience, they do not..."

To which I replied:

"How do you know Obama has a conscience? Do you have any demonstrable proof of that? The problem, in additon to the extreme right, is Democrats who think blind loyalty to their party is going to save them. It won't, but not giving a free pass to those who betray their own base just might. A choice between two evils isn't a choice at all, and the sooner we realize that the better off we're going to be."

Loyalty and hope are good things, I suppose, but not when they interfere with 0ur ability to realistically assess what is happening and why.