7 Things President Obama Needs to Do to Get Re-elected

I like to use "7 Things" to get a bit off topic from human rights every now and again. And today, my eye is on the President's big job speech before the joint session of Congress. 2008 has come and gone, likewise 2010. It's a new ballgame right now for the President. What does the President need to do to hold off his opponents and regain the magic in the 2012 race?

7. Separate Romney from RomneyCare

Back in 2008 I was convinced that Romney, not McCain was actually the more robust Republican candidate and that has not changed. Why? Because while Rick Perry reminds people of George W. Bush, Mitt Romney will begin to remind people of Ronald Reagan very soon. Just as every Democrat developed Clinton's thumb-point, Romney's actually begun to affect a Reagan-esque aw-shucks stutter. The "Romney=Reagan" meme hasn't reached the media echo chamber yet, but when it does it'll be the end of Perry.

When Romney does become the Republican candidate he'll immediately go to work telling Democratic audiences how the Affordable Care Act was actually his idea while simultaneously telling conservative audiences how he'd dismantle it. The President can't let him have it both ways.

And while he's at it, President Obama would do well to make it known that a Romney presidency wouldn't be a return to Ronald Reagan. It'd be more like a return to Herbert Hoover.

6. Face the suspicion that he's a closet Republican head-on

Progressives don't like to admit it, but President Obama is exactly who he said he'd be. A look back at the 2008 Democratic debates will quickly yield that conclusion. Jobs were never his priority - averting a second Great Depression was. He never said he'd wrap-up Operation Iraqi Freedom in a single term. His consistent stump statement was, "we have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." Likewise, he was never an advocate for single-payer healthcare (and neither am I, but our reasoning is different I think). Do I wish he'd legislate for progressives and campaign to independents instead of doing it the other way around? Absolutely. But progressives who stay home out of a feeling of betrayal would be making a mistake (unless, of course he approves that pipeline which would absolutely be grounds for divorce).

5. Let go of the rope

Every attempt at compromise with the current Congress has failed. In the tug-of-war with the Republican Congress the President has been getting dragged through the mud. It's time to let go of the rope, run the country through the executive, and let them under-legislate themselves out of a job. It's the Presidential thing to do.

4. Fight it out on foreign policy

He got it right on Libya. He found Bin Laden in a Pakistan suburb when the previous administration was still trying to smoke him out of a cave somewhere. He even briefly got China to consider adjusting their monetary policy. Nobody in the Republican field can hang with President Obama's foreign policy record. It's not even close.

3. Look out the White House window

When a few hundred people show up at your doorstep to protest the Keystone/TransCanada XL pipeline you don't need to look at polls. It's a horrible project and the responsibility for ending it rests squarely on President Obama's shoulders. If he doesn't do so, he shouldn't be the least bit surprised when environmentally-minded Democrats and independents stay home next November.

2. Preview the memoir

Last week on the Thom Hartmann Show, Thom made an astute observation:

"John Boehner did everything but put 'boy' at the end of that letter [denying the President a joint-session on the date he asked]."

When President Obama writes his memoir people are going to be astonished at the extent of the racially-motivated opposition that has coalesced against him. However, we can't wait 25 years for the truth to come out. The truth is this country's legislature and business communities are packed full of people who simply refuse to work with an African-American President. They hate Obama so much they don't care what happens to America and they're getting away with it so long the administration is silent on the issue. America needs to know what's going on right now.

1. Jobs, jobs, jobs!

It's not like we're out of ideas here. There's a push among progressives right now to tie all those cushy coporate tax-breaks to actual job-creation, for example. But, why stop there? If America's old-economy industrials don't want to hire Americans why not push massive stimulus money out to new-economy start-ups that will? The early leaks of the President's jobs plan indicate he's looking to spend some $300 billion on job training and preventing teacher layoffs.

If that's all there is to it I don't know if America will vote for President Obama again. He's said over and over again on the campaign trail that the economy is like a car that the GOP drove into a ditch. If that's true, I don't see how a $300 billion oil change is going to help the situation. I'll be listening with much of America tonight to see what's really in the plan. Only if the right people are pissed-off at the end of it will we know we are finally getting back on the right track.

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    I think #1, #3, #4, and #5 are good points. There's a lot of
    irony about #4, in 2008 foreign policy was thought to be Obama's
    weakest point but he's done surprisingly well on terrorism related
    issues (of course in 2000, I thought Bush would be weak on social
    conservative issues but strong on holding the line on spending, but
    the opposite turned out to be true). Don't agree with #2, if Obama was 100% white instead of 50% you'd see the same level of opposition from the GOP (just ask Hillary about the vast right wing conspiracy that impeached her husband). Can't see any comparisons between Romney and Hoover and I seriously doubt Romney's flip-flopsy political career could be sold as "Reagan-like" to GOP voters. But you're right that Perry's resemblance to GWB may end up being his Achilles heel in the primaries.

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    And a follow-up comment on point #2... when looking at the political and racial divide in Washington, you might compare Obama's tenure to
    L. Douglas Wilder in Virginia. Wilder was the first elected black Governor in the nation and was vehemently opposed by Republicans in 1990, he won by only 0.5%. He was a liberal in a very conservative leaning state. But during Wilder's term as Governor he became widely
    respected by both parties and was able to impliment many positive reforms (he would have certainly won re-election if not for a stupid state law limiting Governors to a single term). Compare that to where Obama is after 3 years and the differeces couldn't be more stark. Obama would be wise to read this op-ed from Wilder on why that's the case:

  • In reply to BillyBoy:

    Good read. You don't need to go so far as VA for a model. When Chicago elected Harold Washington the council wars were the result. The congress seems to be reacting similarly to the President. I believe Wilder's right about President Obama's team though.

  • Thanks for commenting, Bill. Concerning #2, I see what you're saying about the persistent right-wing character assassination machine that kneecapped the Clinton presidency. But it's pretty plain to see that the form of the attacks are different. For instance, Clinton never had his citizenship questioned. On top of that I'm not just talking about the GOP. I'm pretty sure Pres. Obama is facing some fierce opposition within the Democratic party as well.

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