Yesterday, I asked readers what President Obama should do over the next few weeks. A number said, “Nothing.” Yes, the first rule when you are in a hole is to stop digging. But that said, two readers had some very interesting advice.
John Murdoch offered advice on actions Obama can undertake alone and those that would require congressional participation. Here are the items Obama could do immediately:
1. Announce that you are going to “fast track” oil and gas exploration and drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, so that by November 1 the permitting backlog will be no more than 15 days (70,000 skilled labor jobs back to work).
2. Announce that you are going to fast-track oil and gas exploration . . .off the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, so that any application gets an up or down conclusion within 90 days.
3. Announce . . . a blue-ribbon commission, led by the Vice President, to fast-track approval and the start of construction this year on the Excel II pipeline bringing Alberta oil to the U.S.
4. Announce that you are retracting, for at least two years, the EPA’s planned enforcement of new emission rules for coal-fired power plants, thus keeping union electricians and union railway workers employed. . . .
Cambridgema gives some practical political advice:
1. Stop having so many news conferences. Have just two more to propose the items below and have his press secretary and other allies do the rest of the talking.
2. Propose extending unemployment benefits and other benefits for those hurt by the slow recovery and criticize Republicans if they object. (”It may take more time for the economy to fully recover, but we have an obligation to help those who are still hurting.”)
3. Present a budget that the CBO can score that achieves balance as quickly as Rep. Paul Ryan’s while looking more equitable to his base and independent voters. If he can do this (a big if), he will look more serious while portraying Republicans as less sympathetic to the needs of the less privileged. (”I’ve found a way to balance the budget as quickly as the House Republicans while protecting the least fortunate among us better.”) If he had done this during the debt ceiling debate, he might have come out the winner
Obama is supposed to be very smart. But is he smart enough to adopt solid ideas (e.g. offshore drilling) even if they make his base squirm and to exercise some personal restraint (get off TV)? We’ll find out.