Five steps to save the Obama presidencyI usually try to avoid politics on this blog, but this Forbes op-ed from Joel Kotkin on saving the Obama presidency not only resonated with me, but also touches on some of the subjects I cover
here. Describing the administration as "Moveon.org run by the Chicago machine" is painfully to the point. He notes:
I suggest these things because, for all his missteps over the past year, Barack Obama is my president and I want him to succeed. But to do so, first he needs to hit his own reset button -- and the sooner the better.His five recommendations are:
- Forget the "Chicago way"
- Focus on real jobs, not favored constituencies
- Step on the (natural) gas (clean energy independence that would be a big boost for Houston)
- Rediscover America
- Chuck the Nobel; Embrace Exceptionalism
Obama's people need to understand that 80% of America live in suburbs or small towns. They do not want to live in dense cities or realize a move there would mean living in less than idyllic conditions. If Obama wants to shape a green America, he must find ways that work with the majority's preferences.I think it's a problem all presidents face: no matter how centrist they aspire to be, they have to deal with extreme left or right Congressional leadership (since the most lopsided districts tend to have the most stability and therefore seniority) - and the farther down administration appointees get from the President, the more extreme left or right they tend to be - because that's the supporter base they draw from. These extremists undermine centrist Presidents in the million little actions that happen every day in DC. It's an inherent flaw in the system, and the system needs to be fixed.
But so far the president's housing, transport and planning advisers seem to be pushing the death of suburbia and promoting ever more densification. It's hardly surprising, then, that suburbs and small towns feel left out. After finally starting to inch toward the Democrats, they are now turning again to the right. If Democrats want to retain their majority, they need the strong support of these constituencies -- without it the Congressional majority will be gone by the end of the second term, if not the first.