President Obama needs to give a few more speeches, maybe get his face on TV more often, give a few more interviews to friendly journalists and everything will be all right, despite Democrats' stunning defeat in the Massachusetts Senate race this week. "(W)e were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values," the president explained to ABC's George Stephanopoulos. Yeah, that's the ticket.
The president gave only 411 speeches during his first 365 days in office; that's barely more than one a day. Maybe if he'd given two a day, the American people would have gotten through their thick skulls that he knows what's good for them, even if they don't like it. Maybe he should have talked more about health care; he made only 52 speeches or statements urging health care reform during his first year. Surely, if he'd talked about it more often or explained it a little better, Americans would be clamoring to turn their health care over to the government.
Now, I know some pundits are saying that Obama and Democrats in Congress should rethink their agenda. But they're missing the point. Thank goodness the president's spokesman Robert Gibbs explained it to the White House press corps: "I don't believe the president thinks that we should stop fighting for what's important to the middle class, that we should stop fighting for an economic recovery, that we should stop fighting for what we need to do to create an environment for the private sector to hire."
Right. They should just keep on doing what they've been doing, only harder. The Washington Post's Michael D. Shear described the strategy inside the White House this way: "As they huddled behind closed doors in the West Wing, Obama's top aides were glum but undeterred. Several described an atmosphere of resolve not unlike the mood during the toughest moments of the 2008 campaign." If Hillary Clinton and John McCain could be thwarted, so can the will of the American people. It's just a matter of putting the right words on the teleprompter.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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