DG MARTIN COLUMN: Unsolicited advice for the president

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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President Biden, you’ve won countless elections and I’ve won none.

D.G. Martin

So why in the world do I think I can tell you anything you don’t already know?

Just be patient with me and let me get these things off my chest, hoping they may in some way be helpful.

Here goes.

  1. Stop branding every success with the “Biden Plan.”

Sometimes your ads say, “Joe Biden passed this program.” Don’t say that. Congress passes the bill. Of course, you played a critical part, but you didn’t “pass” any bill or any program. Also, detailing every success with “Here’s what Joe Biden did” is a mistake. Instead, take every opportunity to share the credit. Say “Here’s what we did. It wouldn’t have been possible without your help and support. Thanks for all you did. The country will be grateful for what you did. And I am grateful now.”

When good results come about from your advocacy, still acknowledge the contribution or others, thanking even those who worked on the sidelines. Say, “You did it yourselves. It wouldn’t have happened without the help of so many great Americans.”

Do this even if you have to grit your teeth when doing it.

  1. Promote the vice president.

Make Kamala Harris a real part of your team.

You seem to be in pretty good health, and I hope you live to be a 100. But whether you like it or not, some people worry that you are not going to survive to serve a full second term or that you won’t be able to do it 100%.

There will be some people who will not vote for you next year because they think a vote for you is just a vote to make Kamala Harris the president. That is a big problem for you, because you need those votes to win. What you must do is persuade these doubters that Harris will be a great president should something happen. You can do that by giving her important and visible assignments.

Don’t treat her as FDR did Harry Truman, leaving the vice president out of inside work of the presidency. Accept personal responsibility for making her a part of your real team and taking responsibility for training her to be a successor should something happen to you.

  1. Recognizing that your age is going to be a problem for some voters, there is also a positive side. So embrace your older age and the experience and the wisdom and lessons learned that have help make your presidency work out better. Better than someone with less experience.

Your 50-plus years in high levels of government have been a great benefit to the United States. Don’t brag but do remind voters that while you may make mistakes from time to time, you have kept cool and you can, stay calm and composed when facing major challenges.

  1. About your family: Develop a strategy to handle the Hunter Biden problems — including ones that you don’t know about. If you have a granddaughter, embrace her. And even if she isn’t your granddaughter, be sure she’s treated with respect. Don’t get caught running down or ignoring a child.
  2. Immigration: Recognizing that there are no easy solutions to the challenges in this area, you must show that you can do a better job than your predecessors and those who could run against you next year. The least you must do is to develop an explainable workable immigration plan. Right now, you don’t have one, and it’s hurting you.
  3. Continue to distinguish yourself from your possible opponents by bringing dignity to your office and to the upcoming campaign. Our country needs you to lead us on a higher path of campaigning.

Thanks, Mr. President, for letting me get these things off my chest.

D.G. Martin, a retired lawyer, served as UNC-System’s vice president for public affairs and hosted PBS-NC’s “North Carolina Bookwatch.”