Time to Fight Back, Obama

Massachusetts disaster means the president must go populist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2010 1:41 PM CST
President Obama speaks at a campaign stop for Democratic senate candidate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – It's still not clear exactly how President Obama will adjust to the Massachusetts defeat, but one camp has clear advice: No more Mr. Nice Guy, please. A sampling:

  • Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation: "Going populist is now smart politics and good policy. The Obama White House needs to show, quickly and forcefully, with concrete, bold and visible action, that it stands with the working people of America." Obama can start by firing economic advisers responsible for the "timid" blueprint on Wall Street and unemployment.

  • Simon Schama, Financial Times: Obama must respond "not by turning on more consensual charm, but by taking the gloves off. With his bank levy ... Obama has belatedly begun to fight. Whether he can trade enough punches with the right before the November mid-term elections remains to be seen, but my hunch is that President Composure is up for a brawl."
  • Dan Kennedy, the Guardian: "Surely Obama knows his strategy of reaching out to Republicans was an utter failure. It's time to try something new—not necessarily a lurch to the left, but a move toward passion and populism and idealism of the sort that impressed so many millions of Americans during Obama's historic presidential campaign, and that we've seen so little of since then."

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