God knows I’ve given former President Bill Clinton holy hell over the years. The underachieving old reprobate sought the highest office in the land, won it, then squandered most of it with his laziness and sexual excesses.
But, when he’s right, he’s right. And he’s right when he gives President Obama the advice to stay positive on the economy and spend the time to talk with the public in depth about the problems facing the economy.
It’s one thing to say that "the economy could get worse before it gets better" and that the economic stimulus program is only the beginning. But, Clinton told ABC News, he should also tell the American people that "he’s confident that we are gonna get out of this and he feels good about the long run."
Clinton added that Obama should try to "educate the American people about the dimensions and scope of this economic crisis … I just would like him to end by saying that he is hopeful and completely convinced we’re gonna come through this."
That’s pretty good advice. But it assumes that President Obama fully understands the financial crisis and has a coherent plan to fix it.
That’s the rub, isn’t it? Based on the early going, it looks like the Obama administration is making up its economic policy and strategy as it goes. President Obama has been talking about the "mistakes of the last eight years" for the last two years. He assured us during the campaign that he had the answers to get America on the right path. He was "the one". He won the election 120 days ago. Yet, when he took command, his plan was what? Ask Nancy Pelosi to draft a trillion dollar spending plan that funded virtually everything her Congress could think of?
Look, we all want the President to succeed. And Clinton is right when he advises Obama to stop scaring the pants (and pant-suits) out of people without giving them hope that their sacrifice will pay off. The American people are not looking for false hope, but a sign that the Obama administration does have a coherent and strategic plan that they believe will actually work.
In that, Bill offers sound advice.