President Barack Obama could take a page out of Bill Clinton's campaign book that could help him and other Democrats win re-election. After the 1994 midterm election when Republicans regained control of Congress, President Clinton embraced the GOP ideals of fiscal conservatism, smaller government, a balanced budget, lower taxes for the middle class, and welfare reform. That turn to the center worked economically (with the help of rasing taxes on the wealthy) resulting in a balanced budget, an actual surplus, a soaring stock market and a second term for Clinton.
Times are much different now with President Obama inheriting a much deeper recession than Clinton did in 1992, but the principles of not spending more than you have still apply. No matter who is to blame, many Americans are concerned about the deficit and our deepening dependence on China for fiscal stability.
So instead of alienating those with these concerns, Obama should be reaching out to them and pointing out that he has a plan for the debt and deficit and job creation.
The Tea Party needs to be shown what our president has done that resonates with their ideals. Common themes are lower taxes, smaller government, slowing down illegal immigration, and creating private sector jobs (and keeping companies from going overseas.)
Well, let's look at the president's record on these issues since taking office 20 months ago. He lowered taxes on the middle class in his stimulus plan, government jobs have declined this past month by 121,000, so it could be said that he is shrinking government while private jobs increased by 67,000 (jobs have been increasing steadily for Obama's first year after being lost on the average of 700,000 a month under President Bush's last year in office), and despite claims of otherwise by Arizona Governor Brewer with her false accusations of beheadings, illegal immigration has declined this past year and there have been more deportations under President Obama than President George W. Bush. President Obama also kept his campaign promises for health care reform (which he believes will create more private jobs) and getting us militarily out of Iraq. But the president never gets any credit for these accomplishments.
It seems to me that President Obama and the Tea Party are on the same page on many issues. So the problem is in the perceptions being put out by the GOP, conservative talk radio, and Fox news and the combative posture it forces the Democrats to take. It doesn't work to call the Tea Party stupid, racists, Nazis or un-American. All that does is perpetuate the myths about the parties and feed into the bitter discourse going on in D.C. which alienates the voters even further.
The best thing President Obama could do is say "I feel your pain" (Clinton-like). We are all Americans and we will work our way out of this mess. He needs to become the uniter and healer that he promised he would be during the campaign. Whatever happened to "we are the ones we have been waiting for"? All presidents have to endure criticism. I know Obama has reached out to the GOP and didn't get the cooperation he wanted, but they are not representatives for all of the American people.
Even though some Republicans have embraced the Tea Party for their own goals, it is still a grass roots movement that makes some valid points about spending and the deficit. President Obama needs to turn to the public, listen to their concerns, unite us in a common purpose, and instill confidence for a brighter future. With his gift for oratory he has the capability to still inspire and lead us if he can keep his eye on the prize and reconnect with an electorate yearning for change and a new direction for the nation.