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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Obama Only Needs To Do What He Did at First

January 28, 2010

It’s never easy to quote the Bible in a political article, but the truth is, there is a lot in scripture that can be applied to both secular life, and politics.

The problems facing President Barack Obama reminds us of an answer former President Richard Nixon once gave when asked what book he would take (if he were allowed just one) as a castaway on a deserted island.

Without hesitation, the former President said he would take the Bible. It is the greatest of all books, he said, as it contains every human dynamic of life - love, hate, passion, joy, sorrow, war, and peace.

Nixon was right, and one of the most intriguing passages in the Bible, which can be applied to President Obama’s plight today, is in Revelations (2:5). It refers to regaining a lost love (in this case the lost love for God).

The answer, according to this scripture, is to "do the things you did at first." This means the passion and enthusiasm that exists in any first love, can later be regained, if one remembers what it is he/she did "at first," and as the passage says - do those things again.

President Obama campaigned as a political centralist - someone who would go over the budget "line by line" and cut waste, as well as provide meaningful tax relief to the middle class.

He promised to change the tone in Washington; to put his legislative proposals on the Internet for all to see (well before enactment); to televise important legislative debate on C-Span; and work with Republicans as well.

Unfortunately, those promises were not kept, and the President has governed as a liberal - not a centralist. The voters have signaled their displeasure in various ways, including electing a Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts for the first time in 58 years.

The President is now trying to recover, but his first response was troubling. He immediately moved his 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe into the White House, to straighten out his political fortunes in the 2010 Congressional elections.

But Plouffe does not seem to get it either. In a recent Washington Post article, Plouffe wrote that the nation’s 10 percent unemployment rate is "stubborn". Yes, 10 percent unemployment would certainly be "stubborn", at the very least, but "devastating" would be an answer closer to reality.

Plouffe also wants Democrats to, "show (the voters) that we are not just focused on jobs but also creating them". He suggested doing this through more spending on health care, energy, and education.

These things are important, but they do not - in the short term - create jobs. Jobs are created when government creates a friendly environment from which private industry can be creative and turn a profit. Taxing and over regulating businesses does not help reduce unemployment.

Most surprising was Plouffe’s assertion that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the $800 billion stimulus package) has created jobs that will win Democrat votes in the 2010 elections.

He cites the hiring of local police officers, teachers, and construction workers as an example of how the $800 billion stimulus helped employ people - never mind that the country has lost upwards of over 4 million jobs since Obama took office.

Plouffe also said Congressional Democrats should campaign on the "many ethics reforms" passed during the past year - yet complained that voters do not understand these have been enacted. Apparently he did not notice the many unethical backroom deals associated with President Obama’s health care bill - but voters certainly did.

It’s not too late to turn the ship around, but President Obama and his top political operative, David Plouffe, must make a course correction as soon as possible.

They might start with Revelations 2:5. "Do the things you did at first".