President Obama is making a final campaign swing before the midterm elections, trying to energize Democratic voters by warning that big Republican gains in Congress could sink his legislative priorities. "My name may not be on the ballot," he said Tuesday on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show, "but our agenda for moving forward is on the ballot." With pollsters predicting the GOP will gain seats in the Senate and take control of the House, commentators have plenty of advice about what Obama should do if next week's election shakes out as expected. Here are five suggestions:
Obama should stick to his guns: Democratic presidents are "more easily intimidated by midterm losses" than Republicans, says Robert Reich in The Christian Science Monitor. Instead of moving to the center, as Bill Clinton did after the 1994 GOP landslide, Obama should do what Republican presidents do and continue looking for ways to make progress on the issues that matter most to him. Leaders don't give up after a predictable setback — they "push even harder" for what they believe in.
"What the GOP knows and Dems don't: After midterms, stay the course"
Obama ought to accept blame: A GOP drubbing would be a "repudiation of Obama's agenda," says Byron York at Townhall, but Obama will blame everyone but himself, claiming that voters are so scared about the economy they are not being rational, and that the GOP "cheated" by using foreign campaign donations. The smart thing would be to listen to America's message, but Obama will just "make excuses."
"If Dems lose, Obama will blame everyone but himself"
The way to bounce back is to reboot: If Obama wants to get re-elected in 2012 and "reclaim his momentum," says Mark Halperin at Time, he has to provide "bridges" to Republicans. He can start by making some meaningful personnel changes, and uniting with the GOP on "common causes," such as Afghanistan and deficit reduction. He can "recapture the center" by confronting both parties when they "overreach."
"After the midterms: How Obama can reboot"
Stay calm, and remember Reagan: Given Obama's slumping approval ratings, says David Jackson at USA Today, Republicans think they have Obama "on the ropes politically," but as Obama maps out his post-midterm strategy, he would be wise to review Ronald Reagan's record. "Obama is actually more popular than Reagan was at the same point of his presidency, according to a new poll in National Journal magazine." So an improving economy may be all Obama needs to bounce back.
"Obama in better poll shape than Reagan at midterms"
Stay in America: Obama is already scheduled to flee the country and visit India on Nov. 7, says Michelle Malkin at her blog. But with disaster looming he is moving up his departure to Nov. 4. At almost 12 days, this will be one the longest foreign trips of Obama's presidency. He probably figures if he stays out of sight people will forget how mad they are about his big spending policies. Don't count on it.
"Obama's post midterm election strategy: Leave the country"