Heading into his first midterm, Roosevelt, too, faced an ailing economy and critics blasting him as a socialist. Jeff Shesol on how he beat the odds—and what Obama needs to tell America now.
FDR was not subject to a mid-term disaster that Obama seems to be heading toward, because he had vision.
One of the main reasons FDR prevailed—then and thereafter—was his ability to paint a clear, consistent picture of the kind of country he wanted America to be, the kind of country we needed to be in the industrial era.....In his inaugural address, President Obama spoke of a “new era of responsibility,” but soon dropped the idea in favor of another unifying theme (wrapped in a laundry list, inside a mixed metaphor): a “new foundation… built upon five pillars that will grow our economy.” The pillars—financial reform, education, clean energy, health care, deficit reduction—tell us a lot about his priorities, but little about his basic objectives. Where does this all lead? What defines Obama’s America? Absent a clear answer, Obama has, in effect, asked the country to infer his goals by inductive reasoning—to assume that on the basis of policies A, B and C, Barack Obama seeks X, Y, and Z.
I'm not sure if Obama is lacking in vision or is just unable to communicate it. What he has done is a number of individual acts, each that stands on it's own. It adds up to something very similar to what FDR did, but they don't reflect an overall vision for the country, nor do most people even know what he's done.
I sure hope he can turn this around. If we have fewer Democrats in the House and Senate things will jsut get tougher for him.