In today’s NYT Frank Rich has an opinion piece comparing Obama to Reagan. In the third year of their terms both has were faring badly in the polls and were leading a country coming out of a deep recession with high unemployment (Though Regan’s numbers were both worse).
Republicans have a selective memory about their hero Reagan:
- He oscillated from excessive tax cuts to corrective tax increases disguised as tax reform.
- Produced 8 unbalanced budgets
- Spending on entitlement programs doubled over Reagan’s two presidencies
Regardless of all that Rich believes that Obama can learn a lot of Reagan’s playbook. Reagan had a lot of charm and charisma (helped from his days as an actor) which Obama can turn on if needed. What Obama needs to focus on is making his message clear and concise so that the general public can easily understand what he stands for.
He was a great communicator when it came to selling his own story in the campaign, heaven knows. He has rarely rekindled that touch in the White House — even during his December run of good fortune. His recent Congressional victories should not obscure the reality that, the tax-cut deal notwithstanding, he still disappeared at key moments when he should have led the charge.
To win back America’s heart Obama will need to draw the line in the sand and fight his corner for the policies he believes in and not seem like a whiner. In two years America will elect a president that they feel projects confidence and authority. Sadly right now even with a successful lame duck session behind us Obama still feels like he is in the back of the room.