Sometimes, I think about taking this punditry thing big time. You know, a syndicated column in the newspapers, guest appearances on news panel shows, round table discussions of the day’s big events.
But then I lose my ambition. Try as I might, and despite all available evidence, I’m not stupid enough:
President Obama’s promised jobs plan needs to be unrealistic and unreasonable, at the very least. If he can crank it all the way up to unimaginable, that would be even better.
This is a moment for the president to suppress his reflex for preemptive compromise. The unemployment crisis is so deep and self-perpetuating that only a big, surprising, over-the-top jobs initiative could have real impact. Boldness will serve the nation well — and, coincidentally, boost Obama’s reelection prospects.
Obama’s previous “boldness” left us with a yawning chasm of debt and a topless tower of unemployment—yet he needs more of same. So he can win reelection to ruin the nation for another four years.
I’m a little hesitant to ask: what, pray tell, does the writer suggest by way of boldness?
Roosevelt won reelection in the midst of the Great Depression not by convincing voters that his opponents would make the economic situation worse but by demonstrating his utter determination to return the nation to prosperity, no matter what obstacles he had to overcome.
Obama and his advisers know very well that this is the wrong time to cut government spending. They know that using federal money to seed big new initiatives — to upgrade the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, jump-start the “clean” energy industry, retrain the unemployed so they can compete in tomorrow’s job market — would give the economy a much-needed boost. They know, too, that federal action to buoy the housing market would help revive consumer spending, thus giving corporations a reason to invest the estimated $1 trillion they’re sitting on.
Even if you love Obama (and I don’t), urging him to replay the Great Depression can’t be right, can it? And the best he can come up with is to “seed”, “upgrade”, “jump-start”, “retrain”, “buoy”, “revive”, and “invest”—all in order to “boost”?
Boldness from the president may or may not get the nation’s mojo working again. Timidity surely won’t.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives would immediately declare any such ambitious program dead on arrival. The president should welcome their opposition — and campaign vigorously against it. He can offer voters a choice between a pinched, miserly vision of the country’s prospects on the one hand and an optimistic, expansive view on the other. He needs to demand what’s right, not what the other side is willing to give.
We know Obama can be rational, realistic and eminently reasonable. Right now, he needs to be anything but.
“Obama can be rational, realistic and eminently reasonable”? Barack Obama? Are talking about the same fellow? Or does he mean Uncle Omar Obama, the drunk illegal immigrant sitting in jail?