President Barack Obama still doesn’t get it. The liberals that he derided in this press conference are not irrational purists. All we are asking is that the President clearly articulates his vision for America’s future, sells it to the American people, fights like hell to get as much as he can, and teaches the American people why the GOP’s ideas are wrong and bad for America.
We can live with imperfection — even defeat — if we are convinced that Obama has gone to the mat and fought the good fight. More important, if he sold his policies with gusto — such as the need for a public option on health care — he would help shift long-term public opinion. This would set the stage for advancing our issues another day.
What we are getting, however, is uninspired compromise without the added benefit of Obama using his bully-pulpit for the purpose of persuasion. The President is the most gifted orator of our time. Yet, he has not employed those skills to the fullest extent and has inexplicably failed to explain what he believes is the best road map for America’s future.
For example, if he truly believed in a public option, why did he not articulate his case at a full-throated roar? How come he did not adequately sell America on the importance of a larger economic stimulus to expedite a recovery? What was his hang-up in attacking the GOP for being spit-bucket carriers for billionaires on this week’s tax fiasco? And why didn’t he give a frank, electrifying speech plainly stating that Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is a moral abomination that harms national security? LGBT rights is the great struggle of our era and Obama should help move the American people on the importance of equality.
Instead of making a powerful case for his own positions, we got Obama berating some of his most ardent and loyal supporters. Then, he falsely stated that The New York Times editorial page (which has been largely supportive of him) does not influence the real America. Well, actually it does. What the Times says directly affects what is discussed on cable and network news programs. Not to mention the Times is a national newspaper that can be bought at Starbucks or delivered to homes most places in the country. I have a subscription in Vermont, not to mention I can read articles on the web. When I travel to places like Kansas City or Birmingham Alabama, plenty of people are reading the Times while drinking coffee.
Mr. President — today’s vision leads to tomorrow’s victories. It is time to spell out precisely what you want and what you believe is the best course of action for America. We are sick and tired of having to guess at what your core values and beliefs are. Such nebulousness served you well during the campaign when everyone was able to project their hopes and dreams onto you. But, now it is time to state precisely what you think would make America a stronger country that can lead the world.
The reasonable expectation that our Democratic president be a fighter with clear goals is not Utopian or an example of intransigence. We fully understand that we can’t always win. However, by making his case directly and forcefully to the American people, Obama might be surprised by how many victories he can accrue.
Mr. President, you only have one chance to lead the world. Are you making the most of it?