If I were in Obama's shoes, and I had any brains, if I wanted to turn those lousy poll numbers around, I'd hold press conferences to talk about jobs every day. I'd talk about jobs until the media was sick of it. Then I'd do it some more.
I'd spend two or three nights every week couchsurfing with families who were suffering, cameras rolling as I pretended to care about their silly problems with mean bosses and evil health insurers.
Most importantly, I'd set up next year's television attack ads. I wouldn't let a single week go by without proposing some piece of legislation related to creating jobs, alleviating the problems of the jobless, and increasing wages.
I'd send Congress huge publics-works bills. I'd ask them to hire millions of unemployed people to work for federal agencies. I'd push for higher unemployment benefits, payments that don't expire until you find a job. Tax breaks for companies that hire. Tax deductions for those that give raises. Penalties for outsourcing jobs. Keep the Bush tax cuts, but only for the poor and middle class.
Let the Republicans kill my ideas. All the better for my 2012 ad buy! "Republicans voted against new jobs for Americans 22 times. Against helping homeowners keep their houses 15 times. Republicans: They just don't care about you." You get the idea.
Of course, a president can accomplish a lot by executive order. Remember that story about how Apple had more ready cash than the U.S. Treasury? Since America obviously needs the money more than Steve Jobs, Obama could have nationalized it and given it to the states in order to bolster their unemployment compensation funds.
American voters are so defeated and disgusted that they no longer demand a president like FDR or LBJ who actually fights for them. They'll settle for one who goes through the motions.The question for Obama and his advisors is: Are they smart enough to pretend to care about the only issue that matters to voters?
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