Obama blames delays on procrastination book
by Will T. Morrow
Truth or Consequences, N.M. — President Barack Obama today explained why he has postponed living up to more than 50 campaign promises.
"A ghostwriter who I haven't selected yet and I have been hard at work on a book that I believe could help many Americans," he said at a press conference that started two hours late. "I expect to announce that 'How to Overcome Procrastination' will be ready for publication sometime soon."
The President said he has a great deal of experience dealing with the topic.
"I was planning to complete the book before now," he said, "but I thought it would be better for me to resolve my challenges with this issue before completing the book, whose title gives the impression that I have overcome those challenges myself. But let me be clear — it will be a great book once I get it done. I'm certain that it probably will be published before next year, and if not, I guarantee that I will finish it someday after I conquer my own tendencies to put things off."
Some critics have complained lately that they have seen nothing but delays in implementation of specific pledges that Mr. Obama made during the presidential campaign — pledges that they say motivated them to support him. Other critics are hoping he permanently postpones living up to some promises.
Moveon.org policy board member Dee Lay Moore said members of his group are upset that the president failed to pull troops out of Iraq in 2009 as he had once promised.
"The President delayed troop withdrawals almost immediately," Moore said. "And then he said he would leave 50,000 troops there, perhaps permanently.
"We supported Obama over John McCain primarily because McCain would not commit to a specific date for withdrawal. McCain said he would send troops home as soon as it was in the best interests of the United States to do so. Now we realize that McCain might have pulled the troops out sooner than Obama will. Maybe we supported the wrong guy.
"Now the president promises us he'll get most of the troops home by August, but we wonder if he'll put that off, too."
Manny Stallings, vice-president of Democracy for America, said his group helped to finance Mr. Obama's campaign primarily because he promised to close Guantanamo Bay.
"He said he would close Gitmo within one year, but he never got a round to it," Stallings said. "Now he says he'll close it as soon he gets a round to it. We tried sending him a round tuit, but the Secret Service intercepted and destroyed it. Now I don't know if he'll ever get a round tuit."
Obama's editor at Layder & Layder Press, Dodd L. Lahnger, said the book, which will be completed someday, will reveal several reasons for the president's procrastination.
"He means well when he makes promises," Lahnger said, "but by the time it's time to deliver, he has made other promises that demand his time. He doesn't mean to hold people off. It's just the natural consequence of a serial promiser."
The founder of Taxpayers of America, former NFL pro Krauss T. Nader, said his group supported Obama during the 2008 campaign because he had promised to enforce pay-as-you-go budget rules.
"Obama promised that he would make sure new programs would be paid for by cuts to other programs," Nader said. "Instead he has been worse than every other President so far in signing bills that increase deficit spending."
Juan I. Leymman, acting president of the Disabled Union Members Bureau (DUMB), said his members are uniformly upset that their campaign contributions have not led to delivery of the promises that Mr. Obama made to get the handicapped vote.
"Obama said he would hire 100,000 disabled federal employees, but the only disabled employees we have seen so far are ethically lame or mentally handicapped," Leymman said. "He also promised to create a federal commission on people with disabilities and would give companies owned by our members preference in getting federal contracts.
"He made those promises a year and a half ago, and we're still waiting."
Waiting in the wings to contribute his expertise to the book is Dr. Dal E. Long, past president of the American Psychiatric Union and an acknowledged expert in procrastination. He said Mr. Obama contacted him more than a year ago, asking him to act as technical editor of the book.
"I told him I would do it," Long said. "But if he keeps dallying, my schedule might fill up."
Coauthors Lynn Gurr and Loy Tehr said Obama's delay in writing his book have given them the motivation they have been looking for to finish a similar book for which they were paid an advance in 1984 to write for Wade L. Ayder Publishing House.
"We felt bad when Mr. Ayder died before we could start the book," Gurr said, "but we promised his widow that we would get started right after his funeral. I'm happy to say we delivered on that promise before she died, but we haven't made any headway for more than 20 years. We don't want Mr. Obama beating us to the punch, so we're going to start pretty soon on finishing up."
Layder & Layder's marketing director, Teri Post Pohn, said getting the book on the New York Times Best Sellers list might be an insurmountable challenge.
"The retailers are a little worried that the books will sit on their shelves," she said. "People who really need the book might not get around to buying it."
Some Obama fans are disappointed the book has not been published.
Dewitt Evan Chuelly, who has a yard full of vintage cars that he intends to restore someday, said he could use some advice in getting started.
"I'll definitely buy the book, especially if I can get the president to autograph it," he said. "I'm just afraid I might not get around to reading it."
Quote of the Day
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow." — Mark Twain.