Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can Obama Reboot the Voters?

George W. Bush never admitted a mistake. It’s time for his successor to save a crumbling presidency by admitting his own while going head-to-head with Tea Party treason that is subverting his and America’s future.

“These guys are playing a different game than the president’s playing,” Vice President Biden tells Democrats about the intransigence of Congressional Republicans. “And we are no longer playing.”

Good enough, but Barack Obama has to do more than that—-start a new game (perhaps with a 60 Minutes mea culpa) by flatly admitting his misjudgments, telling voters what he has learned from them and enlisting their support against the know-nothing, do-nothing opposition he now faces.

Even the miserable opinion polls show rays of hope with substantial percentages of Republicans and Independents approving the President’s plan to raise taxes on corporations and the superrich even while disapproving his handling of the economy. It’s time for him to “reboot his presidency,” says one pollster.

Ron Suskind’s new book portrays “a young, inexperienced president lacking the leadership and managerial skills to deal effectively with the cascading economic problems he inherited; a brainy but detached executive with a tendency to frame policy matters oddly passive C.E.O.”

As tendentious as these anonymous assertions may be, it would be healthy for the body politic to hear the President’s own version of what happened and what he learned from it.

“Obama can be faulted,” writes Bill Keller in the New York Times, “for periods of passivity (his silence as Republicans have sought to defund financial reforms), for a naïve deference to Congress (his belated engagement in the details of the health care bill), for a deficit of boldness and passion, for not doing more to stiffen the spines of his caucus on Capitol Hill, for not understanding--at least until his latest barnstorming on the jobs bill--that governing these days is a permanent campaign.

“It is partly a failure of presidential communications that Republicans have succeeded in parodying each of his accomplishments, turning ‘stimulus’ into an expletive, portraying ‘Obamacare’ as socialized medicine and attacking the Dodd-Frank financial reform as an assault on capitalism.

“It’s not just that he has failed to own his successes. He has in a sense failed to define himself.”

With less than 14 months to go before the prospect of a Rick Perry or Sarah Palin in the White House, Barack Obama has to clearly define not only himself but the ugly alternative the nation faces if he fails to do it.

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

This is good advice, but the problem is that Obama does not believe that he's made mistakes. He's incredibly incapable of self-reflection; this is why he lashes out at everyone else (everyone from Bush to "Congress" and on to the "whiners" in his own base, his word, not mine). He's in way over his head, and if he actually saw that, admitted it (or at least, as you say, his mistakes), he'd be able to hook more indies.

Unfortunately, he has neither the character nor the wisdom to do so.