Being the first to do something can either be extremely horrific or extremely liberating – take your pick. with Washington, one over-riding principle drove his decision: the power of doing the right thing. Every precedent Washington set the standard and the blueprint for every president that followed.
You cannot let the office run you. You must run the office.
George was great at envisioning the power of what the office could be. Whether it was as a 4 year king or a servant of the public, Washington did what he thought the office should do and that is run the country. Be it the Whiskey Rebellion or the Jay Treaty, you must be in charge. No one expects you to ride a horse into Afghanistan leading the troops, but you must set how and what the soldiers are doing.
Not only should you have a vision but your cabinet should as well.
Case in point – Alexander Hamilton
Avoid Foreign Entanglements
don’t stick your head in the sand, but Washington understood the enormity of being a geographically isolated nation compared to the rest of the world and how that would cause such an economic burden on the nation to be inolved in foreign conflicts. Nowadays, transportation and communication systems have shrunk the world exponentially, but our foreign relations can either liberate us or enslave us. George chose liberation.
George understood that your court choices will long outlive you in government and the people you choose will interpret the constitution long after you have left office. Choose wisely.
Being the First
Being the first President of African descent is either going to weigh upon every decision or race will not matter to Obama. He may see himself as the 44th President just as George saw himself as the first, he did not set out to set precedents, he just did what he thought was right. If Obama does, then race will fade away. Unfortunately, historians will always judge you as the first whether you like it or not.
Other Presidential Lessons for Obama Series
John F. Kennedy
George H.W. Bush