Obama 2.0

During the past week we have witnessed a Big Bang of analysis of the meaning of the recent Massachusetts senatorial election, what it means for the Obama presidency and what it means for America. We can probably throw in the meaning of this one election to determining the future of civilization as we know it.
We can begin with what we know. We know that with the election of Scott Brown as United Senator from Massachusetts, the Democrats no longer have a 60-40 “filibuster proof” super majority in the Senate. We know that Senator-elect Brown’s campaign platform of almost total opposition to the Obama legislative agenda. We know of the propensity of the Republican minority in the Senate to vote in obstructionist lock step when it comes to any and every aspect of the Obama agenda. We know that the leadership of the Republican Party is on record as wanting Barack Obama to fail as President of the United States no matter what damage is wreaked on the American public in the process (taking the concept of a pyrrhic victory to a new and unconscionable level).
Knowing that Barack Obama’s failure as President will lead to more suffering on the part of American men, women and children, the disloyal opposition persists in clamoring for his failure. Knowing that more jobs will be lost, more homes will be foreclosed upon and more children will be stripped of their one irreplaceable possession – hope, the disloyal opposition conspires and connives to bring about that failure.
We know that Barack Obama was elected on a tide of hope and expectation and energy and desire for progressive change rarely seen in American politics. We know that President Obama has endeavored to keep to his promise of a bipartisan governing process. We know that the hand that he has proffered to the Republicans has been gnawed to the bone.
We know that despite the tide of hope and expectation and energy and desire for progressive change that elevated him to the presidency, President Obama has rarely tapped into this considerable resource. We know that his efforts at being reasonable have been perceived by too many as weakness. We know that his willingness to be thoughtful and contemplative have been perceived by too many as an unwillingness to act decisively. We know that the seemingly unstoppable momentum that accompanied his inauguration has been stopped.
This is not, however, the end of the dream. It is not even the beginning of the end. It would be naïve to think that the forces and interests that exist in opposition to the goals and objectives and principles enunciated by candidate Barack Obama would lay down their weapons and embrace the change sought by President Obama. But it is clear to all who care, and it is certainly clear to the President that the opposition is real, it is implacable but it is not invincible. It is time to reboot. It is time for Obama 2.0.
There is no need for the President to become a different person, but he must exhibit the resolve and determination to succeed that helped him graduate from Harvard Law School that helped him dare to become President of the United States that enabled him to become President of the United States. He has to let America know that he is the leader that they elected. If this means calling out Lloyd Blankfein, the Chairman of Goldman Sachs, for exhibiting the unspeakable bad taste of bestowing overblown and unearned bonuses to his minions while many Americans scrounge for any job and are losing their homes, then call him out.
If it means calling out Senator Jim Demint, whose jackass philosophical opposition to the Administration’s nominee for the head of the Transportation Security Administration kept TSA from having new leadership at a time of clear and present danger (see the barely aborted Christmas bombing), then call him out. If it means telling the leadership of the Democratic Party in Congress that he is the leader of that party and that their dithering and game playing and role playing has now endangered the passage of a health care bill that would have positively transformed the lives of millions of American men, women and children, then he should do so.
Most importantly, as he prepares his State of the Union address, I do believe that President Obama should decide that Obama 2.0 means that he and his administration should be in battle mode from now until November 2, 2010. He must lead the battle to transform the Congress. He cannot achieve his agenda and what he believes is best for the American people with a House and Senate that is composed of majorities that will support and endorse and enact that agenda.
Offering the bipartisan hand has been a failure and a lesson. It is now time to go into a battle for the hearts and minds and votes of the American people. I believe that history will show that getting elected was the easy part for Barack Obama. The harder part will be the transformation of Congress and America. In this battle he will have the support of millions of Americans who seek the change that he has called for.


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