Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NYT Offering Advice to Obama: Stop Being So Smug

Even his supporters realize he's got a problem.
I was talking to a Democratic Party donor, a Kansas City businessman. He said he’s given over $30,000 to Obama — and not a word of thanks. He was irritated. Lots of people think this president is too smug to write thank-you notes or make quick courtesy calls.

After the inevitable midterm defeat, Obama needs to make some decisions. He’s stuck on the 20-yard line in domestic and foreign policy. The facile attacks on “fat-cat bankers” have to end. They don’t convince the left and they infuriate the right. Prosecute, by all means, but don’t rail. And remember that Americans get good housekeeping in the end. One $787 billion fiscal injection is enough.

Americans are trying to de-leverage. They’ll follow a president who says extending tax cuts for the rich is madness. They might buy a consumption tax. But the president has to lead.

Obama is confronting an international conviction that he’s hesitant. The agonizing review that led to the Afghan surge left an impression of uncertainty. In the end we got what some have called the Groucho Marx Hello, I Must be Going! plan, a brief reinforcement to be reversed in time for the 2012 campaign. In the Middle East, too, domestic politics have trumped change, with resulting equivocation and familiar paralysis.

Boldness characterized Obama’s campaign; only that will get him re-elected in 2012. He needs to invigorate his team with doers rather than thinkers. He needs to become serious about balancing the budget. He needs a foreign policy that reflects a changed world not a churlish Congress.

And he must admit to himself that perhaps the disappointed are not misguided but rational, even scientific — words he likes.
They're not your enemies, Obama. They're Americans.

No comments: