January 30, 2014
By michael payne
President Obama finds himself in the center of a political storm that is wreaking havoc in this country and its society. Nothing of substance is getting done, problems are not being solved and millions of Americans, instead of living the American dream, are living in a state of misery and hopelessness.
President Obama finds himself in the center of a political storm that is wreaking havoc on this country and its society. Nothing of substance is getting done, problems are not being solved and millions of Americans, instead of living the American dream, are living in a state of misery and hopelessness.
We all are sick and tired of hearing that this government is dysfunctional, that it is caught up in a state of gridlock; one in which the use of congressional filibusters is rampant and obstruction of legislation is the name of the game being played by Republicans. Yes we have heard that time and again; but what Americans want to know is when something really positive and meaningful is going to be done about it? Who and what will get these totally corrupted politicians off their butts and do their jobs?
There’s a ton of blame to go around and, in my view, there is no question that the pathetic Republican obstructionists are responsible for the largest share of this gridlock. But the Democrats must also share the blame for letting this situation continue to fester because of their often spineless and cowardly behavior. And there is no doubt but that President Obama has also been a major contributor to this nation’s ongoing political crisis because of his own policies and actions, or lack of them.
O.K. so it’s a terrible dilemma for America but how exactly are we going to get out of this mess? We know that we have a president who isn’t much of a fighter and readily backs down when confronted by Republican obstructionists. Americans want a fearless, courageous president who will relentlessly attack this nation’s many problems but that’s just not who he is.
The question is if he, with less than three years remaining in office, can somehow turn his presidency from one of a defensive nature into one that takes the offense and gets positive things done? To do that he would have to shift his energy level and performance into high gear by taking swift and strong actions to do what was right for this country regardless of the reaction and opposition he might receive from those who are working to bring about his destruction. He needs to finally stand up and fight for what’s right. But how to do it?
He would have to follow the example of Theodore Roosevelt: a human dynamo, driven to be the best at anything he did, fearless, courageous and totally dedicated to his country.
He would have to strive to be like John F. Kennedy, a truly inspirational leader who commanded the respect and the admiration of the American people.
He would need to emulate Lyndon Johnson: an unrelenting, very clever politician who would not stop until he accomplished what he set out to do.
And, lastly, he would have to follow the political strategy of Franklin D. Roosevelt who knew how to connect with people, a master motivator and a shrewd politician who knew exactly how to get things done.
Now with that in mind what does he need to do specifically in the next three years to jumpstart his presidency and prove to the American people that he is the president they thought he could be? If I were his chief political adviser at this point in his presidency here is what I would tell him to do with his remaining years in office:
It’s way past time to bring the hammer down hard on the Republican political thugs and their agenda of legislative obstruction. For every issue that they have attempted to destroy or obstruct he should to launch an intensive media attack and show the American people in explicit details just how Republicans are severely damaging this nation. These kinds of thugs and bullies respect nothing but force so it’s time to use the full force of the American people against them.
Use the presidential Bully Pulpit to hammer the GOP relentlessly every time they do something that is diametrically opposed to the wishes of the American people; such as slashing food stamps, refusing to create jobs and extending unemployment benefits, or attempting to make cuts to Social Security.
Being articulate and eloquent is one thing but connecting with and inspiring people with a message that they want to hear is quite another. He must motivate, he must inspire and energize. And if he connects with the American people and they trust in his words they will respond and support him with the massive power that only they possess.
He needs to say “Yes we can” and “It’s time for change” and really mean it this time by outlining specific directions and objectives for this nation; not just use lofty rhetoric and worn out platitudes. And, of greatest importance, he has to immediately stop alienating many of his staunchest supporters including liberals, progressives and independents who have become so disillusioned with his current centrist positions.
He has to regain the trust of Hispanics who do not like what they see as he sets new records for deportations of unauthorized immigrants, over 2 million so far, easily surpassing those made under the G.W. Bush administration. This deportation program is adversely affecting the strong support that Hispanics have always given the Democratic Party.
He has to totally distance himself from the power and domination of the Washington Establishment and become his own man. Without a doubt it’s time that he reins in the unrestrained power and outreach of the NSA agency in spying on the people of this nation. He would have to back off his aggressive drone attacks in many different countries that are doing nothing but generating thousands more vengeful enemies.
If he speaks out against the gross inequality of wealth and income in this nation, as he did in his recent State of the Union address, and then also continues to strongly support the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, then he will come across as a hypocrite that talks out of both sides of his mouth. He must withdraw his support from this agreement because it’s clear that if it’s put into effect it will further decimate the American workforce and the middle class.
This will be Mr. Obama’s last chance to rescue his presidency from stagnation and, possibly, turn it into one of that historians will call one of the greatest of political comebacks. He needs to adopt a totally new strategy based upon the fact that you cannot deal with political bullies by attempting to use reason and rationality and continually offering them an olive branch; for they will take that branch and break it in half every time.
So what can we conclude from this discussion of this enormous, ongoing problem that can only get worse? How can America extract itself from this deep political morass? There is only one way; this president must use every means at his disposal to directly connect with the American people and find the ways to harness the enormous power that they possess to send this strong message to the obstructionists in this Congress:
“Change your ways, end your agenda of obstructionism, stop the gridlock and finally do what’s right for your country and the American people. And if you don’t and you continue to wreak havoc on this country and its society, we the people will run you out of Washington and send you into political oblivion.”
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.