Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, December 03, 2010

No-More-Nice-Guy Now

The President is facing his leadership test sooner than later. As most Democrats in Congress fight back against GOP bullying on Bush tax cuts, the White House should take them head on instead of feebly navigating between what's right (and the American people want) and what a pumped-up band of naysayers can force through.

A primetime appearance or press conference next week could lay down the gauntlet and set the tone for the next two years by rallying the public against the flummery of labeling extension of cuts to those earning under $250,000 as a tax increase for the ultra-rich that will hurt the economy instead of what it is--a substantial and logical step toward reducing deficits that worry everyone.

It's no-more-nice-guy time, not only the right thing to do in terms of policy but politics as well as his own base increasingly questions whether he will "cave" once again, with those like Paul Krugman going so far as saying:

"Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically, to disappoint his once-fervent supporters, to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake.

"Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse--a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction."

As overwrought as this condemnation may be, it is only a secondary reason for the President to step up. For the rest of Obama's term, the issue will be Republican determination to destroy his presidency at whatever cost to the nation.

Now that they have chosen to strong-arm him on a winnable issue even before taking more power, this is the time to engage them with a Trumanesque feistiness and get some momentum going for the next two years.

Americans are anxious about the economic future, and they want a President who will be out front fighting to make it better rather than caving in to a clueless contrarian Congress.

Time to step up, Mr. President.

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