Open Letter to Obama: Get Tough Mr President, Get Tough
By Ron Steinman
NEWS JUNKIE POSTNov 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm
The views in this article represent only the opinion of its author Ron Steinman. They do not represent News Junkie Post as a publication. Note from the Editor in Chief.
Despite what some of your continuing detractors in the increasingly defunct Republican Party complain about, Mr. President, you do have a mandate for change. After all, you won the election decisively and your opponent did not. This is not simplistic. It is the truth. Do not give in to the likes of John Boehner and his increasingly weak brother-in-arms Mitch McConnell. Neither seems to realize you have won the toss. They lost. Despite a Republican majority in the House, you, Mr. President are still in the White House. The Republican Party is not.
As a reminder, this is where we as a nation stand domestically. Yes, there is a very serious financial crisis. I am not an economist, but for some the fiscal cliff is more like a fiscal slope. I prefer slope to cliff. On Wall Street fear of the unknown rules. The bears are hard at work. People are running from reality and stuffing money in their mattresses where it does little good. We are now in the lame duck session before the next inauguration. Much work lies ahead as everyone tackles the deficit in the hope of reducing it. It is something few understand. Further, we must eliminate the Bush tax cuts. We must avert the payroll tax cut. In doing all this, President Obama has to assert himself as never before. There are good signs he is doing this. We saw something of that in his most recent news conference.
Mr. Obama was strong, tough, and fierce in defending his vision, which, by the way, despite what many pundits said, was clear during the campaign and remains clear. Mr. Obama understands that in order to allow the middle class to flourish and to allow people to enter the middle class, every American must participate, but tax increases on the very wealthy must come first. The wealthy must understand that because of their wealth they are not entitled to a free ride in the America of the 21st Century. The idea of wealth seems to breed the concept of entitlement and all it does is allow the wealthy the freedom to do what they want without paying any price. Just because someone has more money than someone else does not make the person smarter, gentler, and more caring. The idea is an anachronism. People must contribute their fare share, especially if the country is to grow and people are to thrive.
Spending cuts that make sense without killing what Republicans call entitlements; meaning what people pay all their lives to get -Social Security when they retire and the necessary medical aid in their later years- are also part of how we will save the economy. There must be a combination of tax increases and a desire to rein in runaway spending. Closing loopholes in the tax code will provide some revenue but it will be nothing more than a band-aid that will temporarily stop the bleeding. There is some hope on the horizon because some Republican Party pundits and even hide-bound Republican governors are suddenly talking about the need to raise taxes as part of a way to deny the fiscal cliff. Revenue to run the country must come from somewhere. Now that mostly universal health care is the law, we have to consider ways to cut Medicare and Medicaid without cutting the heart and soul from the lives of many needy and have-nots in our country.
Mr. President, stalemate is not in your future. I really enjoyed your firmness during your recent news conference. You must use your bully pulpit to twist arms when you can and defy the small-minded likes of Boehner and McConnell and their followers. Certainly, reach out. Yes, try to be bi-partisan, but that is likely to fail. In the end, all the meetings you will have at the White House, and those you will consult around the country will not make things right. Your vision for a better, stronger America, the vision that originally put you in the White House and that you brought forth with your new coalition for a second term is what matters.
During the campaign there were reports that you and your campaign staffers consulted scholars, biographers, historians and a variety of social scientists in an effort to help you define and make the case for your mission. Surely they helped. But ultimately any newly toned toughness must come from you. You have a grand opportunity to help remake America. It is a moment that could lead to the health of this nation as you set the pattern for your successor in 2016, also, a candidate I would hope from the Democratic Party. That will be someone who will carry your ideals forward in our increasingly diverse nation. Despite what the now devastated Republican Party believes. diversity is what make America great. It will again. But be tough when you lead. It is no longer about politics. It is now about your legacy, It will pay off big in the end.
Editor’s Note: Photographs one, two and four by Hey Paul.
- November 1, 2010 What Obama Has Done [Comprehensive Edition]
- November 21, 2012 The American People: Sez Who?
- August 11, 2012 Paul Ryan: GOP’s “Boy Wonder” Nominated VP on Romney’s Ticket
- November 28, 2011 Death Wish: Congress Going Going Gone
- January 4, 2013 Fiscal Cliff: Middle Class Free Fall, Corporations’ Golden Parachute