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How Obama Got His Groove Back

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Unlike Stella Payne, in Terry McMillan's bestselling novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back, President Obama did not have to travel to Jamaica. His re-election on the basis of a clear national agenda has enabled him to get his "groove" back and exercise presidential leadership more boldly and decisively. Similarly, the progressives in the Democratic Party appear to have accurately interpreted and evaluated -- and not overstated -- the voter coalition underlying the president's victory and the Party's victories in the House and Senate.

On the issue of whether the richest two percent of taxpayers should pay their "fair share" in a "fair and balanced" approach to reduce the deficit, President Obama, this time, has drawn a line in the sand. He has clearly indicated what he is prepared to compromise and what he is not.

In one or more of my blogs during his presidency I commented, as others, that sometimes, circumstances required him to politically exercise the necessary "take no prisoners" form of leadership. This often involves "taking names and non-violently kicking asses" of those who oppose him. Otherwise, his political opponents will not respect him.

To derail his presidency, the Republican Party and its right wing political ally, the Tea Party, have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Obama: he's not a citizen with an American birth certificate; he's a masquerading Christian, hiding his real Muslim commitment; he's an academic failure in school who succeeded only because of "affirmative action"; and he's a closet socialist radical who really hates white people, etc.

One of the risks confronting a possible victory by the president in avoiding going over the "Fiscal Cliff" may be something that is beyond getting his political groove back. This is that the president's innate personal political style may prevent him from engaging in the nuts and bolts of the up close and personal seduction and arm twisting often needed by a president to successfully implement his agenda. President Lyndon Johnson is the template reference for the exercise of this kind of presidential leadership in dealing with Congress.

The stakes for the future of our economy and nation may be unprecedented at this stage in our history. To assure success by the president in getting Republicans to agree to raise the tax rates on the top two percent, along with balanced cuts in spending, may require some change in the president's apparent customary style of dealing with Republican opposition. This suggested change in the style of his political leadership might be needed now more than any other time during his presidency.

He and Michelle can always visit Jamaica after the president has successfully concluded a deal with Congress.