I am happy (as an Obama supporter from the moment I read his first book) to say that “he gets it.” According to the article, he made the following plans back in August…
Obama’s solution was to set aside time to let his brain work during his mid-August vacation. “The most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking,” he said, repeating advice he’d gotten from a Clinton administration veteran.
This struck me as critically important advice, and the article describes how difficult it is to actually implement it, given the demands from all sides to respond as if everything is a crisis of national proportions.
Someone once said that if you want to get rid of your problems, tackle even bigger problems. This matches my experience — the big ones make the small ones fade into meaningless insignificance.
This truism can be used to put campaigning into context somewhat. The demands on one’s time during a campaign are nothing compared to the pressures of being Commander in Chief. I have a feeling that George Bush is discovering that whatever problems he thought he had 2 weeks ago are nothing compared to the financial problems he finds the country, and the world, in after the announcements of the past few weeks.
In other words, the pressure of saying the right things in the upcoming debate are pretty minor compared to the decision about how to address the country in the middle of a crisis.
Which takes me back to the advice Obama was given.
It might seem impossible to keep to the advice, given the upcoming debates, speeches, strategy sessions, etc. but it seems that he realizes that it’s a good idea to develop the habit of carving out “thinking time” now, before it’s too late. That would mean taking control of his schedule, and ensuring that when a real crisis hits he has the brain-space to deal with it.
The article can be found here: http://www.slate.com/id/2196907