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Thoughts on What Obama Should and Should Not Say at His Post Midterm Election Press Conference

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The news reports say that President Obama will be speaking at a press conference on Wednesday. It is important that he strike the right note. More, that he NOT strike the wrong note.

(I am writing on Election Day, before any results are in, but with the assumption that the news will be a good deal less than great for Democrats.)

What would be wrong would be to lend support to the idea that any Republican wave represents a clarion call from the public to repudiate progressive ideas to utilize government to improve the society or to endorse the policy ideas that the Republicans represent.

I believe most emphatically that the problems that Obama and the Democrats have been facing with public opinion are NOT to be understood in those terms.

In the coming days, I will be articulating some new insights I have had into "How the Obama Opportunity Was Lost." For now I will just stress the point, not a departure from what I've been saying for almost a year and a half, that the heart of the problem --aside from the crucial role played here by the terrible and prolonged Great Recession-- is that there are important fights that greatly impacted public opinion and that Obama lost for the simple reason that he never really contested the fight.

As for what Obama SHOULD say, my main concern is that he position himself well in relation to the coming struggle with the Republicans. Regarding how that coming struggle should be conducted, I have a major idea that I am working hard now to get to Obama. I will say no more about it, and am not sure whether or when I will be able to say more here, publicly.
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But what I can say is that to help position himself for what I hope will be his future moves, I hope he will stress this one point: Our job is to serve the American people and to do what's as good as possible for meeting the challenges America faces.

Some possible words:

IT IS OUR JOB TO SERVE THE PEOPLE WHO PUT US INTO OUR RESPECTIVE OFFICES. IT IS NOT ABOUT US, AND OUR POLITICAL ADVANTAGE OR RE-ELECTION. OUR COUNTRY FACES SERIOUS CHALLENGES, AND WE ARE ENTRUSTED WITH THE TASK OF MEETING THOSE CHALLENGES FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY. FOR MY PART, Obama should say, I AM PREPARED TO WORK IN GOOD FAITH WITH THE REPUBLICANS TO COME UP WITH THE BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS NOW FACING AMERICA.

SO I INVITE THE REPUBLICANS TO JOIN WITH ME IN THE SEARCH FOR SUCH SOLUTIONS, AND TO KEEP BEFORE OUR EYES ALWAYS THE QUESTION, "WHAT CAN WE ACCOMPLISH RIGHT NOW --ON EACH ISSUE THAT WE FACE-- THAT WILL BEST SERVE OUR COUNTRY AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?"

That's the main point I'd like Obama to stress in his press conference on Wednesday. It appears conciliatory, but it also begins the process of setting the trap in which I believe the Republicans can be captured in the months to come.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 

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