Is he back? Obama rolls up sleeves

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 3:  U.S. President Barac...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I’m starting to like this post-State-of-the-Union president.

A week does not a first term make, but at least Barack Obama is out talking to the people again and chiding the weenies in his party, too. He wants to get things done, and he’s right.

Today, The New York Times reports, he told Democratic senators gathered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., “If anyone is searching for a lesson from Massachusetts, I promise you, the answer is not to do nothing.”

And he said more: “We’ve got to finish the job on health care. We’ve got to finish the job on financial regulatory reform. We’ve got to finish the job, even though it’s hard.”

Last week, he mixed it up with Republicans, standing his ground in fielding their complaints. And in between he’s traveled around the country, telling New Hampshire voters yesterday, “Because there’s no magic wand that will make economic problems that were years in the making disappear overnight, it’s easy for politicians to exploit the anger and anguish folks are feeling right now.”

About 1,600 people showed up at the Nashua Town Hall meeting and, The Boston Globe reports, it had the feel of a campaign rally.  In addition to a few sharp-edged words about Republican obstructionism, the president again called for Congress to get over the goal line on health care reform.

I know, words are cheap.  But I’ve long felt the president needed to use them to energize the public before Congress did much of anything.  Instead he forgot his hope-and-change cry and got swallowed up by Washington.

Now he seems to have escaped. He’s whipping up the public, trying to win them as an ally against both houses in Congress. He’s also putting his own pressure on both parties.

So, whether we’re facing six more weeks of winter or not, Obama appears to have climbed out of his gopher hole.  Let’s  hope he never crawls back in.

From where I sit, two truths are self-evident:

1. Democrats will lose seats in both Senate and House come November whatever they do. The public is PO’d big-time, and the party in power always takes a hit.

2. Democrats might just flat-out lose both houses of Congress if they do nothing but sit on their hands and cower.  It would be as stupid as it is counter-productive to their agenda.

A new Public Policy Polling survey supports my gut instinct on this. It suggests that Democrats  “will fare about the same whether health care passes or not.”  In fact, though the difference is not statistically significant, the poll shows Democrats will do a bit worse if they do nothing because some in their own party will turn away.

And well they should.  In my view, the “Know Nothing” and “No, Nothing” Republicans would only make things worse. Far worse.  But the American public actually sends people to Washington to do something other than give speeches and get schmoozed by lobbyists.

Let’s hope the president gets that mesage across to his party before it’s too late.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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