If you were to read the headlines these days, it would appear that President Barack Obama has no chance at a second-term in the White House. Pundits and political experts keep saying that his "coalition is eroding" and that the liberal base is "abandoning the president" over his tax cut deal. Personally, I find all these predictions to be premature.
Just two years ago, when the President was elected and Democrats made even more gains in Congress, all of these same political pundits and experts were writing off the GOP. In the fall of 2008, no one on CNN, MSNBC or even Fox News was saying that Republicans would make historic gains in 2010. In other words, in politics, two years is an eternity and President Obama has a long time to right the ship and win reelection.
When Bill Clinton was running for president, James Carville famously said the campaign was: "about the economy, stupid." But today, while fixing the economy is important, it's really about creating jobs. After all, many of America's largest companies are recording record profits and have stopped laying off people by the thousands. The problem is that they are not rushing to rehire the people that they let go. For the President to win a second term, he needs to find ways to get these companies hiring again.
There are several things the President can do to stimulate job growth in the United States -- everything from being more assertive with his politics to reigning in job-killing provisions at the agency level.
First and foremost, President Obama needs to demand that Republicans are willing to work with him to pass legislation and enact policies to improve the country's ability to create jobs. Republicans in Congress seem to have determined that their strategy for the next two years: thwart the President at all costs. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even admitted that his goal is not to create jobs or reduce the deficit but to prevent President Obama from winning a second term. That is outrageous and the President needs to let Americans know that he won't stand for that type of crude politics.
One thing that is preventing a lot of large companies from starting to rehire employees is their uncertainty about what the future holds. The President's health care reform legislation was ambitious, but it created a level of uncertainty for a lot of large companies. This uncertainty makes them hesitant about rehiring people. I am not saying we should repeal healthcare reform, but we need to be honest that it may have stifled job creation.
This is why the President and his administration need to find ways to work with big business to help them create jobs. This can mean a lot of things. Take for example something small and relatively unknown like the Environmental Protection Agency's "chemical action plans." These plans to review the safety of chemicals -- that are not known to be harmful -- will cause many chemical companies to lose business by scarring off their customers. That will result in the loss of good paying jobs which are important in many rural economies such as my home state of Mississippi. No matter how well-meaning they are, administration proposals like these will not get Americans back to work.
What I am really saying is that the President needs to examine his Administration from top to bottom and find ways to create jobs. That means everything from getting tougher with his political rhetoric, to eliminating proposals that stifle job growth. If he can get America back to work, he can win a second term. That would be a victory for Obama and the nation.