A highlight of reading The New York Times on Tuesdays and Fridays is David Brooks’ columns. He’s intelligent, interesting and insightful.
But he’s all wrong (“The Fighter Fallacy”) when he says President Obama is all wrong to come out swinging against Republicans. He can’t win that way, Brooks says.
Yes, he can.
Americans love a fighter, so long as he fights for the right things. And against the right villains.
Right now, Obama gets to fight against the Republicans in Congress. He has his problems, but he’s more popular than they are. And they’ve punched him in the nose so many times he’ll look like a weakling if he doesn’t fight back.
Next year, he’ll get to fight with a Republican who is either totally unprincipled (Romney), totally incompetent (Perry) or totally nuts (Cain).
Obama’s problem is telling people what he’s fighting for. After giving a big speech to Congress and travelling across the country for six weeks talking about his American Jobs Act, a New York Times/CBS poll found that “more than half of the public say he lacks a clear plan for creating jobs.”
Obama is paying the price now for spending his first year focusing on health care reform. That may have been a noble cause, and it may turn out to be the greatest thing since cable sports. But the public didn’t understand his plan – or why he focused on that when the economy sucked.
Now, finally, he has a jobs plan. Time to fight for it.