Arianna on what Obama needs to do

Arianna Huffington:

And yes, I’m well aware of the structural impediments (aka the Republican Party) facing the president. But, given that they’re not going anywhere, and show no signs of moderating their intransigence, it’s even more important that we hear what changes he plans to make in his approach to governing.

His new jobs plan is a good case in point. Solid plan; great speech — one he followed up by immediately taking his case to that “committed grassroots army.” First, he went to Eric Cantor’s district and proclaimed, “the time for action is now. The time to create jobs is now.” Then he went to John Boehner’s state and said, “my question to Congress is, what on earth are we waiting for?” This was followed by his call for a new minimum tax rate for millionaires.

It was an effective bit of political salesmanship — and a refreshing shift in strategy. But the president’s problem going forward is explaining the shift: If you’ve been taking one approach and then you abruptly change without acknowledging why, or even that you did, or what lessons were learned that caused you to make the change, it just doesn’t ring true.

Of course, acknowledging mistakes and course-correcting are the hardest things for a leader to do. But in order for voters to believe that things will be different in the president’s second term, there has to be some recognition of what didn’t work in the first. Otherwise, any future talk of change will be like hearing a song without the music. And the more often words of change are used without real change happening, the more devalued they will become.

I’m posting this because this is exactly what I’ve been telling people the past few days. I want to believe that the President’s shift towards being a fighter and not a lover is real. And he’s made some good moves and should be lauded for it. But I’m not sure whether it’s entirely real because it doesn’t quite make sense. What changed? How do you one day wake up and become a different person? I think it’s possible to change, but I think it usually takes some kind of personal epiphany, brought on by seriously bad circumstances, and I guess I’d like to know more about what that epiphany was, in order to believe that it’s real. That’s why Arianna’s words above hit a chord for me.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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