'Jobs, jobs and more jobs'
In his State of the Union remarks, President Obama needs to reassure the American people with a message that is optimistic and upbeat and yet sensitive to the pain that many have been enduring over the past 18 months. The speech should include a passage along these lines:
"During the past 18 months, our nation has experienced turmoil of historic proportions. But my message to you tonight, my fellow Americans, is that we are on a better road. Since this administration came to power a year ago, we have taken measures that have brought us back from the brink of economic collapse. We have improved our reputation around the world through sincere and peaceful outreach to allies and adversaries alike. We have started to renew our cities through projects funded by stimulus money. We have seen the stock market climb by nearly 30 percent. There is indeed good news to report.
At the same time, I know that many of you are hurting. I know that many of you are struggling to get by, without jobs and without health insurance. That's why I have put the passage of a health care reform bill at the top of my agenda, and it's why I am also focusing on job creation. My administration is developing a range of plans - including tax credits for employers, investments in education, the launching of capital projects to renew our ailing infrastructure, and more - with the goal of putting millions of Americans back to work.
Jobs, jobs, and more jobs. That will be my priority in the coming months. And you can take that to the bank."
In other words, President Obama has to focus on what's real to people. He has to get back to what he did so well on the campaign trail, connecting with people on a heart-and-soul level, demonstrating to them in plain language that he understands their difficulties.
James Carville's famous line still applies: "It's the economy, stupid." But before the president can concentrate on this priority, he has to get the health care bill passed, and quickly. He might need to borrow a page from Lyndon Johnson, who was masterful at wielding the power of his office to get things done, or from Ronald Reagan, who knew how to use his popularity and personal appeal to talk over the heads of Congress directly to the public.
President Obama came into office with a great deal of good will and support from the American people, and it's not too late for him to start making better use of it. This State of the Union address would be a good occasion to start putting his administration - and the country - back on a more positive and effective path.
Posted by: travisg2 | January 27, 2010 11:24 AM
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