President Barack Obama has sought to "reset" relations with Russia, with the Muslim world, with big business.
What the president needs to do now is reset his relationship with the American people.
Our economy is in deep trouble. The lack of confidence, reflected in polls and the stock market, starts from the very top.
Obama is not doing what it takes to restore belief in America's future. He has been too timid, too defensive. He needs to get tougher and fight for the middle class he talks about all the time.
It's good that we have a president who carefully weighs decisions and doesn't fly off the handle. But sometimes he's too calm, cool and collected for his own good. Americans don't require more professorial lectures right now; they need to see someone who gets how bad things are – and is angry about it.
In short, he has to recapture the passion of candidate Obama – the one who won such fervent support with his soaring oratory and his vision of a better America. There have been sparks of that passion and vision in some of his speeches on the economy, including an unusually fiery one Thursday at a hybrid car battery plant in Michigan. But not enough, and not in a sustained, convincing way.
His three-day economic bus tour in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois starting Monday is the perfect platform for Obama to pivot his presidency.
He should clearly lay out a big jobs plan, one much more substantial than the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits extension and infrastructure project bank that he has long advocated. He must make a stronger case that some higher spending and shared sacrifice now – yes, including higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations – is necessary for longer-term economic growth.
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