One Thing At a Time

Author: Gary Hart

Did you ever wish you could manage your life one problem at a time?  It might make the many tough decisions we all face actually managable.  But, you say, life doesn’t work that way.

Well, if it doesn’t work that way for you and me, why in the world would we think it worked for the president of the United States?  But, apparantly that is how the supposedly sophisticated pundits and most of the president’s critics think he should manage the business of the nation.  “He should deal with jobs first,” they chatter, “then he can do health care,” they opine, “then he can do energy, then education, and then….” on and on and on.

This displays woeful ignorance of both the way life and the presidency work.  The recovery and financial crisis projects he inherited from the previous administration had to be carried forward.  One emergency measure to create jobs was passed and another is on the way.  Deficits have no hope of reduction without controlling health care costs, a primary reason for urgency on health care reform. 

Indeed, virtually all the major problems we face are interrelated.  They don’t operate separately.  The economy (jobs) is related to trade which is related to international finance which is related to energy which is related to military operations which is related to foreign policy, and on and on.

President Obama inherited two wars, his critics must be reminded.  They required, and received, considerable presidential attention.  Few presidents in recent memory have entered office with so much unfinished business: the worst financial crisis in 75 years and two wars.

The largest, most complex, most widely-dispersed nation in human history doesn’t exactly run itself.  It requires multi-tasking management on a scale few humans can contemplate.  To President Obama’s media and opposition critics it must be said: Grow up and understand what being president of the United States means at this stage in our history.  Quit making ridiculous and childish demands for the president to do one thing at a time. 

Life doesn’t work that way and intelligent, mature, and thoughtful people know that.  And be grateful we have a president who can do more than one thing at a time.

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37 Responses to “One Thing At a Time”

  1. Gary Hart: One Thing at a Time | Times Daily Blog Says:

    […] To comment, please visit Senator Hart’s blog at […]

  2. Gary Hart: One Thing at a Time | Says:

    […] comment, please visit Senator Hart's blog at Read Entire Story: Politics on News […]

  3. Leon Rodriguez Says:

    Thank you so much, Senator hart for saying in the Huffington Post what I’m constantly thinking. Thank the good Lord that we finally have someone in the office that can actually do the job! God Bless the President in his difficult work.

  4. Jason Rubarbinson Says:

    Senator, it would depend on the specific pundit, but for most who have a sizable audience or influence, it’s really misguided to assume that they care whether or not what they say is “correct”.

    They most certainly do not.

  5. Ross Warnell Says:

    For many years now Congress has “kicked the can down the road” on any number of issues President Obama is now facing. All of a sudden we have reached the end of the road and, as the old timers are fond of saying, the chickens are coming home to roost.

    I suspect the President has turned to David Axelrod more than once lately and said “Tell me again why I wanted this job in the first place”.

  6. Judy Says:

    You are 100% correct on this one. We must all juggle many responsibilities. It is part of being an adult. Good column! I think Obama is trying very hard. He has so much on his plate, however, in politics, no one ever cuts the other guy a break.

  7. Gary Hart: One Thing at a Time | Goo News Says:

    […] To comment, please visit Senator Hart’s blog at […]

  8. Danielle Says:

    I’m giving you a standing ovation, Mr. Hart!! It is about time somebody stand up and state the way things really are. Obama’s problem is not just from the other political party. His “supporters” and own party are equally responsible for ripping into him for not doing what they want quickly enough. The other side simply says no to everything, we simply say no to everything that is not exactly the way we want it and when we want it. At this point, it seems very much the same to me. Personally, I’m just glad to see him doing his job and, from my perspective, quite well at that.

  9. $4600.02 Says:

    don’t be an apologist, gary. it’s not attractive.

  10. Shirley Moulton Says:

    Brilliant comment and post. I wonder when the media and the general public will evolve? It’s time!

  11. Frank Tiedemann Says:

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said. But where are all the other adults in the room? We need more leaders with a strong voice telling the American people that it is time to put partisanship and petty self interest aside for the greater good. This country is in deep trouble and it needs to behave accordingly. It has always been the American way to muck around on the big issues until we finally decide to pull together to confront and overcome them. My fellow Americans, its time.

  12. Bill Garner Says:

    Well…you are still an idiot. It was a GREAT day for America when you were voted out!! But, darn … you just will not go away! But, the good news is … Obama has you as a part of his team shows just who he is…doesn’t it:) Will you post this??

  13. Robert Maier Says:

    The mainstream media and commentators all read from their own script with blinders firmly affixed. They promote their agenda with little true insight or facts. Attitude is all for them. This is why the wisdom of individuals who publish blogs like this has become more important than the bogus conflicts promoted by the corporate-funded media who value status quo above all, because they are on top and want to stay there.

  14. platon rigos Says:

    Said like it must be; moreover this president has had to face the most polarized electorate ever, the most disciplined and vicious opposition held together by a well financed and organized hate machine. When in recent memory has an opposition been so disciplined but unprincipled as the Republicans unveiled the moment he was sworn in. Delegitimizing a presidential election was done with Clinton but at least Clinton had a small window of relative comity!!
    One of the most amazing and galling objections the Repubs are making to the use of the Reconciliation process being used for the health care reform bill, is the claim that when they used it the opposition was never so monolithic and Democrats did join them. In other words the fact that Democrats were reasonable and amenable to compromise on a numberf of bills is being used against them and the fact that they are being totally obstructionist is in keeping with their weird sense of fair play,
    When a nation is being harangued by hate merchants like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and an entire network; solving problems becomes extremely difficult if at all possible.
    What is needed is for leaders of all stripes (ex president Clinton, ex governor Howard Dean and maybe Senator Dole to make a concerted effort to confront these hate merchants systematically and call on the so-called main stream media (CNN and Washington Post ) to stand up an d be counted for the restoration of civility, fair play and fact checking..

  15. SJ Berry Says:

    “…woeful ignorance” should be “willful ignorance”

    Thanks for saying it out loud. I just hope most of us get it.

  16. Josef Says:

    Yes, yes and YES!!!!!! Thank you -thank you – thank you!!! Back in the days of our nation’s founding, people voted for the smartest, wisest most honest person they were aware of to represent them in the halls of power. Now our government is infested with some of the dumbest, most ignorant, morally bankrupt a-holes this nation has EVER produced (that’s right Republicans, I’m talking about YOU!).

    Time was, being a bottom-of-the-barrel idiot was a cause for shame. But for Obama’s disingenuous and outright hypocritical opposition, it is the highest badge of honor they care to possess. Pathetic. Truly pathetic.

  17. SinisterPurpose Says:

    It’s interesting that in a world where so many of us interact on and with the internet every day, we have trouble comprehending the notion of a multi-level interconnected cloud of data. A cloud that is so enormous and complex, the data within it must be carefully aggregated in very particular ways to be even remotely useful to us in our day to day life.

    Close your eyes. Imagine President Obama governed via the internet. What would his Facebook look like?

  18. rmle Says:

    Obama has had time to end the useless invasion of afganistan, but has chosen instead to doubledown. michael moore, who previously seemed to me humerously radical, now appears to be much more in tune with the reality of our times.
    intention is not enough,and i believe that Obama has only suceeded in being less bad than his predicessor.

  19. Sanjay Maharaj Says:

    I agree with you that Obama is providing the true leadership tackling tough assignments which had been left and not addressed for far too long which is the cause of many of the things he had inherited
    time for talk is over and it is time to act be it doing many things at once

  20. jkh Says:

    I agree.

  21. Leo M. McCormick Says:


    Interesting essay. However, you might want to read “Der Spiegel Online,” today’s issue (3-15-10), wherein that publication “reviews” our current President. The article titled “LOSING FAITH IN THE MESSIAH Obama Unites Israelis and Arabs in Disappointment.” I think you will find it interesting also.


    Leo M. McCormick

  22. Heidi Says:

    Beautifully said. Patience seems to be lost on everyone right now. Democrats are even harping on him..the ones that said “Yes we can” right along with him are not debunking every campaign promise they can in hopes to unseat him it seems. Not only that but what President while having to contend with criticism for sure has ever had the disrespect thrown at him that President Obama has? It’s obscene it’s so bad. I’m embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed by the likes of Sarah Palin and her empty-headed rhetoric. I’m embarrassed by the fact that Republicans and Democrats alike seem to be aligned against him when at first they were so for him..Republicans crossed over and voted for him now they want him to fix it all now by not doing anything. Democrats suddenly seem to think its all happening “too fast”..which is tantamount to “lets not do anything”; or worse they (both Dems. AND Rep.) say “What will you give me if I do vote for healthcare, energy reform etc. Obama is right that we don’t want to be told what to do, but we do want someone to do something in Washington besides whine about things. So far Obama is the only one who has been able to calmly explain himself, his ideas etc. Are our congressional representatives that out of touch. and that badly spoken that they can only stammer out sound bites?

  23. Heidi Says:

    oops my bad..that should read Democrats are even harping on him..the ones that said “Yes we can” right along with him are now debunking every campaign promise they can in hopes to unseat him it seems.

  24. bozhidar balkas vancouver Says:

    It is democracy, stupid! Which is part of the biocidal system in US. As pols proclaim, We are a nation of laws! Not governed by people? Certainly not by majority of people, but by a minority of people who actually write the laws; welcoming socalled democracy, but not, of course, a timocracy [a rule by honest people]

    So, change the system and a set of laws, known as the constitution, and one wld see improvements.

    However, system cannot change by itself; political forces outside the system such as a second party automaticly change the system.
    In much a heterogeneous society like US, establishing a viable second party appears dificult.

    In homogeneous countries it is much easier to establish even a third or fourth political party; making the rule much more timocratic and answerable to all people.

    US system of governance appears best-ever-developed for control of domestics thru a socalled democratic rule which controls all [dis]information, ‘schooling’, media, etc., and ‘alien’ pops via invasions, occupations, threas of invasions, missiles bombings, puppetization and disseverance of lands occupied.
    In short, a fascist-biocidal governance honed to near-perfection! tnx

  25. Terry Parkman Says:

    I, too, agree that multi-tasking is imperative to everyday life, and especially the running of our country. Which is why I cannot for the life of me understand why our President is so DETERMINED to pass a healthcare bill (doesn’t seem to matter too much what is actually IN it). I know that multitasking MUST be used, but if I lose my job & my healthcare, guess which one I’m going to concentrate on replacing first.

  26. Mary Starr Says:

    Well said!

  27. Gary Hart Says:

    In response to Mr. Garner, and others who substitute name-calling for thought, I am not a “member of Obama’s team.” And, last time I checked, the Constitution still gave me the right to express my independent views. It is unfortunate that those who claim to love our country are opposed to anyone who disagrees with them having the right to express their views. This post was not about Obama, except to point out that he seems to be able to multi-task. It is critical of the ridiculous notion that the nation can be governed one issue at a time.

  28. Gary Hart Says:

    And, by the way Mr. Garner, you should check your facts more closely.
    I was not “voted out.”

  29. bozhidar balkas vancouver Says:

    yes, i had been pleasantly surprised that my post appeared. To add to it, one cld note that US ‘democracy’ isnow the most efficient biocidal and homicidal ‘democracy’ in the world.

    In order to survive and living in small clans some 100 to ca 10k k yrs ago
    we had to have lived in a much interdependent and egalitarian societies; else we wdn’t have survived as a specie.

    The strength of a nation is in its degree of interdepedency on one another.
    Which is how actually the ruling class in US;a minority actually, behaves: in a strongly interdepedent way.
    While at the same time teaches the non-ruling class to behave in as much an independent way as possible.

    Bailout proves that when this caste is threatened, it resorts to a socialism for self; disregarding any cost or damage that wld result from it to people who are not in any way represented by the three branches of US governance.

    For the ruling class in US to rule to the degree that it rules it [with an iron grip, really] it must have at least cia-fbi-army echelons onside.
    Thus, cia, fbi, judiciary, army, congress, media, WH, ‘educators’ are strongly in an interdependent relationship.

    This way ruling-managing US plutocratic affairs is just fun and games;with each segment of one whole having an assigned role to play.

    Media-schooling assigned role is to dwell almost exclusively on the cult of personality, individual blame-praise or perceived or real short comings, half-lies, lies, etc.
    Anything wld do, but just don’t touch the system under which everything that occurs in US is of the system.
    Nothing can happen in US that is not of the system; i.e., systemic. Seeming lack of it also being of the system.

    So, congressional wrangling; inability to pass a bill; personal disputes;projection of bipartisanship over usually money, etc., appears as a mere charade until the capo says, OK enough of that; pass the damn bill or come to an agreement or else!

    It is a bipartisanship which becomes in an instant an unipartisanship the moment uncle sam wants to wage a war or deny people the right to medical treatment or right to be informed.
    Then it becomes one party! tnx

  30. John Says:

    Sarah Palin can only do one thing at a time…

  31. Phineas Says:

    Not voted out indeed. It says something that Senator Hart was re-elected to the senate while 9 of his Democratic colleagues were defeated in the Reagan landslide of 1980. Certainly the people of Colorado didn’t consider him the lickspittle of the Demoratic Party. Nor did primary voters and caucus goers in 1984, when Senator Hart was bested only by the establishment candidate’s ability to collect superdelegates. I only wish he was ‘part of the team.’ Then we might have someone surrounding the president who could explain to him that the erosion of civil liberties does not equal security; that the “War on Terror” is little more than GOP hyperbole, and that indeed real change means that true health care reform would not have meant a bill which looks like it was written by the insurance lobby.

  32. Michael Califra Says:

    I’m always amazed at how many right wingers read the Huffington Post. Less amazing is that they never seems to learn anything from it.

  33. blair Says:

    Dear Mr. Hart,
    Thank you for your reasoned opinion (truth) regarding the plight of our President. We’re all lucky to have you on board but I hope you’ll focus your gifts on the people of Colorado. My family started its Colorado adventure on Grand Lake in the early 1870’s and we now feel the state has a potential that has not yet been achieved. Good work.


    Blair Proctor

  34. Jeff Simpson Says:

    The GOP will be an obstructive, irrational minority and a bullying, equally irrational majority (at some point, probably not this midterm).

    Here’s a suggestion for a future topic: I wonder what Mr. Hart thinks of the prospect for the Democratic party getting organized enough to embrace financial legislative reform. My laundry list of needed reforms is

    return of Glass-Steagal 1933 to separate regular and domestic banking,

    break up any too-big-to-fail bank or insurer with existing anti-trust (Microsoft, too, while you’re at it),

    regulate credit default swaps so only the bond holder can get insurance for it,

    investigate non-disclosure of key material facts with regard to conflict-of-interest marketing of inappropriately highly rated collateralized debt obligations (CDOs, esp. with bundled mortgages),

    require public registration of all trades and transactions to eliminate the opaque market,

    outlaw (and prosecute) naked short selling,

    ban high frequency trading,

    increase money down on oil futures to prevent speculation,

    tax bonuses and interest income at 50% or even 70%).

    Can the Democratic party become the party of reason? I have no faith that the Republican party can shrug off its usurping, jingoistic, avaricious fringe.

    And if this can’t be done by the Democrats, what is the prospect that a new party might get organized enough to take on the two-party system?

    And thanks for making at least a few of us think about these topics.

  35. Larry Rayburn Says:


    Thank you for speaking about this. While opinion is vital, those who have the comfort of protest without consequence increasingly appear to imagine that government can be run by conviction alone. Governance is impossibly difficult, especially when an attempt by this administration has been made to be inclusive and transparent.

  36. Tom Gleason Says:

    Gary: I wouldn’t say Obama”inherited financial crisis projectsfrom the previous administration” as though he had no rolein creating those crises. Remember, he was a member of the party that controlled both the House and Senate for thefinal two years of the Bush presidency.

  37. Gary Hart Says:

    To my friend, Mr. Gleason, my response is this: the financial crises, most experts believe, was the result of excessive financial deregulation, begun in the Reagan years and, sadly, continued through the Clinton and second Bush administrations. Wall Street, predictably, took ultimate advantage of this “free market” mantra and created highly risky investment schemes that should have been obvious to Bush administrators at Treasury, the Fed., and what was left of a shredded regulatory regime. Simply being in the Senate when this happened does not make one equally culpable. Congress doesn’t administer regulations. The executive branch is supposed to…but in this case was too entranced with its own laissez faire dreams.

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