The 'Tea Party downgrade' and what's behind it

Jonathan P Hicks | 8/10/2011, 2:13 p.m.

What's a president to do? First and foremost, show presidential leadership. The president will never have the support, let alone the good will, of this hysterical cadre of the right. Therefore, he might as well play to the common sense of the rest of America. On a fiscal front, for example, he might redouble his efforts to champion the notion of ending tax subsidies for oil and ethanol-a move that would reduce spending by $100 billion over the next decade.

However, more fundamentally, he would do well to fasten himself with renewed vigor to the cause of job creation, something he has already begun to do. It's the heartaching spot that resonates with most Americans now. If he makes a clear case to the American people that he is the champion of providing jobs for his fellow citizens--along with forceful action-it would go a long way.

If he moves with the passion that propelled him to the White House to take up the banner of increased investment in infrastructure-refurbishing roads and bridges, for example-and "green buildings" as a way to create jobs, the president would make a case so strong, so convincing that even his wildest detractors-whatever their motivation-would find themselves in a political checkmate.