Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, November 19, 2018

Obama Must Get Bold, Tell Republicans ‘It’s On’

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) — As he golfs and bikes on Martha’s Vineyard, President Barack Obama will have plenty of time to think about how to get his presidency back on track.

Some aides are calling the major speech he plans to deliver after Labor Day a “reset” of his administration. That may understate its political importance.

Obama prides himself on being a clutch player. Although the election is still 15 months away, the speech is like a critical third-and-long in football. Victory doesn’t depend on conversion, but it sure would help. If fall brings no better news than summer, the president could enter 2012 trailing Texas Governor Rick Perry, a guy who thinks Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and that the chairman of the Federal Reserve is a traitor.

Obama must work on two tracks — one idealistic, the other practical. The moment calls for him to offer a big vision for how to fix the economy, even if it doesn’t have a prayer of passage. Then he should unveil smaller actions that could win congressional approval, plus a few imaginative executive orders that might let him move the needle on employment unilaterally.

The big revelation this week about the president’s strategy is that he will be specific about where he thinks the new special congressional committee should find the additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction called for in the debt-ceiling deal. I’m told by the White House that contrary to House Speaker John Boehner’s claims, Obama did send Boehner a short paper that detailed trillions in savings during their unsuccessful “grand bargain” negotiations in July, but it was never released publicly. This plan will be.