Four years into the current administration, it may be insightful to review some of the positions outlined in the book The Plan, Big Ideas for Change in America, written in 2006 by Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed, and released in paperback in 2008.
Emanuel, who served as Chief of Staff to the President, and is now Mayor of Chicago, remains a close advisor to the President’s re-election campaign staff. Bruce Reed, long a player in the Democratic Party, is now Chief of Staff for Vice President Joe Biden.
In the book, Emanuel and Reed laid out their vision of the challenges and issues facing the nation as the 2008 national election came into focus. They write, “America faces three great, urgent challenges. We need a new social contract for economic growth that enables Americans to get ahead again. We need a new strategy to make America safe again. And we need a new sense of patriotism and responsibility that unites us in common purpose again.”
Those lines should be very familiar. We heard those themes in 2008 and we are hearing them again from the Obama team in 2012. There are two substantial obstacles which have derailed and caused the failure of “The Plan” – the American people and the Congress. The failures of “The Plan” have been numerous and the successes sparse. With the possible exception of the new Obama – Biden Health Plan, (really the legislative priority of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi), the domestic plans espoused by the Obama administration have legislatively been few and highly objectionable to large segments of the American public.
The “new social contract” has been almost invisible; economic growth erratic, anemic and spotty, at best. Those “shovel ready” jobs are still awaiting the wedge of the first shovel. Roads still crumble, bridges still need repair and our deteriorating national infrastructure hampers our economic growth and international competitiveness.
We still need a workable strategy to make American safe again, as witnessed by the recent uprisings in twenty some nations, all spewing hatred for America. Never before have other nations attempted to define freedom of speech for the citizens of the United States.
Perhaps this should not be a surprise, as “The Plan” spent little if no time discussing foreign policy and America’s place in the world in the twenty-first century. Our foreign policy appears weak and we are all aware that when a vacuum develops on the international scene our friends or our foes will fill it rapidly.
The new “sense of patriotism and responsibility” called for in “The Plan” has not developed. Our nation appears more polarized and divided than perhaps any time since the 1860s.
Too many families depend on two jobs from their breadwinners. The American dream of home ownership is significantly elusive. The cost of fuel for cars and trucks is entirely too high. Food prices are on the rise and are projected to go even higher. A second recession is projected.
“The Plan” has failed.
On November 6th, Americans will have the opportunity to vote for a new chief executive, who will implement a new plan. A new plan containing new policies, with practical solutions.
And, a return to tried and true American values.
Let us hope the American people will give Mitt Romney the opportunity to launch a new course for America.
Fletcher R. Hall