Time for Obama to get tough

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It’s good to see Pres. Obama today taking on Congressional Republicans, blasting them for blocking an extension of jobless benefits, and pointedly adding that the GOP pols "didn't have any problem spending hundreds of billion of dollars for tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans," while they deny help for the unemployed, supposedly because of the deficit. Thank you, Mr. President, and here’s hoping you’ll keep the pressure on, and not just for unemployment benefits.

It’s high time Obama showed as much passion defending his own policies against Republican distortions and blockages as he did while proposing his policies on the campaign trail in 2008. I know that he’s known as “No Drama Obama,” but with a midterm election coming up, poll numbers down, and a seriously lackluster White House PR, or “message” team, some passion is what’s called for. Hell, it’s what a lot of us voted for.

Sure, there are things Obama has done, or not done, that I find troubling, particularly the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, the most obvious lost cause since the Russians invaded the same country. BUT, I’d take Obama’s policies all day long before I’d want the clowns and vultures currently running the GOP to be in power for even a minute. With that potential disaster in mind, I say it’s time for Obama to get tough as nails and come out swinging. Voters want to know he’s on their side, and in today’s overwrought media culture, a series of public butt-kickings is what’s needed to get that point across. How to go about it? Easy.

First, call in economic advisers Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to the Oval Office, give them hell for caring more about protecting their former big bank employers than creating jobs, tell them to piss off, and hire TARP Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman to take their places.

Second, so BP says it doesn’t want to fully cooperate with the White House on checking the seal on the oil well? Let slip a Tweet that you’re thinking of nationalizing BP’s assets in the U.S. to pay for alternative energy research,and it’ll be fun watching how quickly the company falls into line.

Afghanistan? Bring back Gen. Petraeus, ask him why, again, are we wasting American treasure and young Americans' lives over in Allah’s Catbox, when there aren’t even 50 al-Qaeda members in the whole freakin’ country? Give him new orders to begin planning the orderly withdrawal of NATO troops immediately. If Petraeus balks, fire him on the spot.

Investment bankers who turned their businesses into giant casinos, and nearly brought down the world’s economy? Bring ‘em in for a meeting in the Oval Office, along with the Attorney General and the head of the SEC, and, in front of the bankers, order the AG to look for any and all cases of criminal activity by anyone who was in any of those banks’ employ, and to prosecute to the full extent of the law . . . UNLESS, the bankers vigorously institute the administration’s ideas for investment banking reform. Tell 'em: you screw over regular Americans, you're gonna be screwed over.

Let the worn out old policies go, kick some butt, and get things moving on the employment front, Mr. Prez. In other words, start being the kind of president most of your supporters thought you were going to be. Show some passion, goddamit! It’ll do you, and the country, a lot of good.

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