Democratic strategist James Carville has some advice for President Obama: "Panic." Also, "fire a lot of people" — especially in his economic policy shop — stop talking up "the Republican austerity garbage," and indict "people in American finance who haven't been held responsible for utterly ruining the economic fabric of our country." The "ragin' Cajun" — who ran Bill Clinton's surprisingly successful 1992 campaign — says that after Democratic losses in Tuesday's special elections, the time for explanations and talking points is over, and the stakes — a Republican victory in 2012, Carville says, would result in "a crazy person running our nation" — are too high for Obama to hew to the same course. Should Obama listen?
Panicking is a terrible idea: I'm all for prosecuting the financial criminals of 2008, says Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post, but I don't see how any of Carville's other prescriptions would solve Obama's big problem — the economy. On top of that, "I'm pretty sure that The Complete History Of Unambiguously Effective Presidential Manic Panic Freakouts is a zero-page book," and Obama's cool in 2008's crisis is a big reason we elected him over the panicky John McCain in the first place.
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And cleaning house won't help: These suggestions are "petty and insignificant," says Elias Isquith at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Firing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner won't make any difference for Obama in 2012 if unemployment is still through the roof. Regardless, Carville's advice is impractical. "It's quite likely Obama would have fired somebody — somebody who holds a high profile — if not for the fact that there's no chance of getting" a replacement confirmed by the "filibustering, posturing, meandering" Senate.
Actually, Obama needs Carville's tough love: The problem is that "the president and his team think they've done a fine job," says John Aravosis at AmericaBlog, and "firing staff isn't going to help when the boss is part of the problem." Carville is right that Democrats are past the point of privately telling Obama he needs to shake things up. Obama needs to take off the gloves, and that means he needs "an intervention before we get a GOP president, Senate, and House."
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