Me and Obama

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 51, No. 4, May 2009, Page 148 Editorials

As I write this Barack Obama has recently been elected pres­ident of the United States. I have never witnessed such excitement and expectation surrounding a new president during my adult lifetime. His inauguration appeared to be a joyful celebration for the whole country.

I can’t help but parallel this momentous event to my own recent inauguration as the new editor of the BCMJ. Like Obama, I have been humbled by the adoration and numerous compliments regarding my intellect, charismatic demeanor, and outstanding personality. President Obama has vowed to make a difference and has already made drastic changes in the way his government is perceived and run. Likewise, within the first week of my tenure I made sweeping changes in the BCMJ editorial process. These changes were a little scary for some of the editorial staff; however, I am a man of action and therefore, despite some resistance, instituted these crucial new policies. First, I separated the vertically stacked “in” and “out” boxes, placing them side by side, thereby increasing accessibility and transparency of the editorial process. This first change had some naysayers, so after briefly waiting for acceptance I pushed on with my agenda. Second, I began to write my official editorial letters on the computer in MS Word. After the collective gasp quieted I began to disperse them via e-mail. My predecessor, JAW, handwrote all his correspondence, so this was a huge transformational change. In fact, Oba­ma has an easier job impressing his staff and constituents as JAW is not, and never has been, a bumbling warmongering idiot from Texas. The last, and perhaps most drastic change, of which fortunately I don’t have to convince Congress, is to receive Editorial Board meeting minutes via e-mail.

Is it possible for one man to live up to the impossible expectations of an entire nation? I wonder if President Obama is ever filled with self-doubt or worried about falling from the high pedestal of public perception—I certainly hope so, as I think this would lead to a kinder and more reflective government. It is naive to think that what happens to our neighbors to the south won’t have a huge effect on our economy and well-being. Barack Obama’s health care plan is to provide accessible and affordable coverage for all. He plans to reduce health care costs for a typical family by $2500 by investing in health information technology, prevention, and care co­ordination (I either got this information off his web site or when he took my phone call congratulating him on his election success; I can’t recall which). Does this sound familiar—affordable, accessible, and universal? I wait with interest to learn how his administration is going to accomplish this lofty goal. He certainly appears to be an intelligent and honorable man, so maybe this won’t be his Waterloo. If his government is able to develop this blueprint of change for a country that has such high health care costs, maybe we could borrow it. This might allow us to bring about effective primary health care reform in our own country, which is currently all the rage.

At least, unlike President Obama, I don’t have to worry about impeachment . . . or do I?


David R. Richardson, MD. Me and Obama. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 4, May, 2009, Page(s) 148 - Editorials.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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