THE BLOG

Latest Polls Send Message to Barack: Where's the Audacity?

05/25/2011 12:15 pm ET

Here's the most recent gloomy news for those trusting in Obama:

Obviously, it's time for him to make his move. He has a problem he can't afford to ignore any longer. Here it is in a nutshell: my informant at the rally for Obama in Washington Square Park, NYC, told me it was the most moving public moment she had ever experienced. But she was talking about the expectation that hung over the crowd waiting for him -- their need to believe. When Obama himself got there, she said, he was just "OK."

That about sums it up. He brings hope because of who he is. But where's the audacity?

The Chris Matthews type conventional wisdom is that he needs to start attacking Hillary -- Chris and his pals want to see a fight. It's good for their ratings. Obama is rightly hesitant to do that. In relation to Hillary, his professorial distinction-drawing manner hits just the right note. His audacity was supposed to be about hope, so trading barbs with her is not the place for it.

Instead, he needs to give rousing speeches built around lines like these:

"If elected, I will go to Tehran, I will go to Damascus... I will address the Muslim people... I will restore America's tarnished reputation... we must not be the global bully... we must be a responsible global citizen... only then can America truly lead."

Or

"Some immigrants may be illegal, and that has to be dealt with. But no immigrant is an alien. That concept has no place in my religion..."

Or

"Terror is not an enemy. Terror is a tactic. It threatens the peace of the world. The same technologies that created a global economy make terrorism a global threat. We must confront and dismantle this threat together or it will persist against us separately as far into the future as the eye can see."

Or

"God gave us this Earth to care for. We have failed. When I am President, the Environmental Protection Agency will become into a cabinet level department on a par with State and Treasury. It will be given a global mission, and I am going to ask Al Gore to be that department's first Secretary."

Obama must risk sounding idealistic and naive. That risk authentically belongs to audacious hope, almost by definition. It was built into his candidacy from the beginning. If he takes that risk he will be free.

And besides, that classic moment is upon him -- what's left to lose?