It's easy to attack a leader. And yet President Obama says he wants input from Republicans. When I was politically active, including nationally, I was heavily involved on the GOP side of things. So here's a constructive memorandum to the president. It's based on both experience and on some of the nonpartisan polls our firm conducts.
It's intended to explore the reasons Obama's approval ratings are dipping and what he can do to prevent a disastrous four years in office. I know he won't read it, but I'm writing it as if he will -- that is, as fairly and professionally as I can.
Americans are scared stiff about a host of issues, including job security, credit availability, home values, international threats, even the Swine flu ... you name it.
Mr. President, some liked your stimulus bill, and some didn't. Either way, that legislation, along with the balky "Cash for Clunkers" initiative, are the only "big ideas" your administration has put forward to counter a faltering economy. And with a couple of exceptions, there is little evidence of "stimulus" reaching the public. Americans are losing faith that your administration has a fiscally sound approach to keep the recession from getting deeper or longer.
You were elected by independent voters who rightfully felt the Bush administration had overspent and underperformed. They were tired of edicts from on high, bailouts crafted by cozy financial titans and an obsession over a foreign war while circumstances here at home were deteriorating.
And yet with your obsession over health care reform, you and your administration are more and more looking at least as out of touch with voters as the Bush team was. We're still suffering severe economic doldrums, yet you've soldiered on with a speech about health care to a joint session of Congress. That issue is near the bottom of the list of things most Americans are now fretting about. It's hard to get excited about the expansion of government when most people don't think that government does a satisfactory job of the many tasks it already handles.
Also, consider that many independent and libertarian voters developed during the George W. Bush years a sense that Sept. 11 was a pretext for government to expand its reach into the lives of citizens, and without proper representation of voters through their elected House and Senate members.