Jon Sanders

Excuse this rushed meeting, but we need to address this situation right away. First, you know the Tea Party has now undeniably had an effect. More importantly, thought, President Barack Obama is no longer to be styled the Messiah. Change we still can't believe has ushered in a new political reality, and we all need a new message.

So make sure you refer to Obama as Reagan.

Yes, yes, I know, just last year we were mocking those teaba -- er, must be respectful, Tea Party rallies -- as ignorant inbred racist reactionary hicks just wanting to return to the discredited old days of Reagan. But that was then. Things are different now.

Not that the days of Reagan aren't discredited -- don't misunderstand! We just can't say that for a while because the character of Reagan is very, very important now to our president. Not his politics, not his vision, and Barack knows not his the idea of government being not the solution to our problems, but the problem. Just his character.

And by his character I mean that aspect of Reagan's leadership style that the president can be said to have. Reagan was, as we all know, a very positive, winsome guy who brought the nation hope and change, and not just in the bumpersticker slogan kind of way. He was an optimist and an idealist, and he was an effective communicator and leader.

He is also revered by millions of voters, despite all we've said for decades. Folks, you can't buy that kind of staying power. And don't forget, Reagan's fans include some who voted for Obama in 2008 when he campaigned on open government, elimination of earmarks, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, you know, the whole rigmarole. Just between us, they hoped they were voting for Reaganlike change and got Carteresque malaise. Now, you know, they're a significant portion of the Tea Party movement.

Point is, 2012's coming. Obama needs the Reagan magic again. And it'll take two years at least to make it work. Look, if we can get folks to think they're supporting a president like Reagan again, maybe they'll overlook the politics again. Obama now sees himself as like Reagan, and we should, too. He has an optimistic message like Reagan (never mind what it is, one week to the next). He has a winsome style like Reagan (just ask him). He thinks he projects a positive message like Reagan. And like Reagan he's a better communicator than Bush.

It's very important to the president's political future to be seen as Reagan. In fact, he is now referring to himself as the Gipper. Now we all know how his first attempt came close to backfiring. He needs our help.

Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.