Following yesterday’s devastating election results for the President and the Democrat party, the President plans to give a speech at 1pm eastern time today. Here’s what he should say, and then deliver on:
Yesterday you, the American people, sent me and our government a message. As President I want you to know that I heard you loud and clear. I have two more years as your leader in this Presidency and I plan to use this opportunity to serve your will, and your will has been cast clearly in yesterday’s vote.
Within 3 months I pledge to do the following: First, I will select at least 5 Republicans to serve in my cabinet. Surely a cabinet of 21 can benefit from the bipartisanship and breadth of thought that comes from having 25% of them from the Republican party. This will be me converting words to action. I have talked about bipartisanship but I have not delivered, including letting the House and Senate operate as if there was only one political party, but I am committing to you today that I will deliver on this promise of bipartisanship.
Second, I will propose a balanced budget amendment, subject to the approval of Congress, in order to stop adding to our debt. As part of this proposal we will include the line item veto so that I can prevent the “drafting” that goes on when members of Congress slip pet projects into bills that have no relationship to the core of a bill. I will also call on both parties in Congress to end all earmarks, and to call out anyone who does not abide by such a pledge.
Third, we will begin the process of amending the healthcare bill which was passed last year so that it conforms more to the will and needs of the American people, and to our budget challenges. To be clear I am not saying we should “scrap” this bill. We need to reform our healthcare system. But it is clear we haven’t done it in a way that is satisfactory to you. And so I ask that we begin the process of improving the bill in a bipartisan manner through edits and amendments.
Fourth, I am going to request of my friends in Congress, both new and old, to declare that they will put all special interests aside and focus on the will and benefit of the American people, and I will do the same. This will be hard, but if we all do it together we will be doing the right thing. For us in the Democrat party this means considering the people’s interest above public and private sector union interests. It means considering tort lawyers and the law suit industry in the context of the devastating cost they have on our economy and the way it operates. And we Democrats need to stop serving other special interest. For the Republicans it means resisting aspects of some of the NRA’s more drastic gun positions. It means serving the poor as well as the rich. It means regulating the free and financial markets in a responsible manner. If both parties operate this way, putting the American people first, our country will flourish and politically we will all be able to make the same claim to the special interests: You may not have liked some of the things we have done, but we have served in the interest of the people, so cast your future votes and contributions however you may. We will sleep well knowing we did right and good.
Fifth, we MUST establish our tax policy to eliminate uncertainty in our employment markets. As such within 7 days I will put a framework before Congress for their approval a tax bill that includes the following: Leaving tax rates on all brackets where they are today. Leaving capital gains taxes at 15% for long term gains and 25% on short term gains. Keeping the tax exemption on dividends as this income was already taxed. Raising the estate tax exemption to $5-8 million as this money too has already been taxed. And I propose an investment tax credit on all capital purchases to be in place for the next 2 years, allowing a tax credit– not a deduction, but a credit– for all capital purchases by businesses.
Lastly I want you to know that I will improve and do better than I have. I’m sure it sounds strange to hear this from your President, but I have learned a lot in the last 2 years. I plan to use what I have learned to your benefit, and to be a better and more effective President and leader. And to demonstrate some of my learnings let me be more specific. I will listen more. I will be far more bi-partisan. I will take more care in what I say, including some of the more misguided statements like when I called Republicans the “enemy” last week, and jumped to a conclusion on a Massachusetts police issue. Some have also interpreted my rhetoric to inspire “class warfare” between wealthier Americans and poor Americans. Intended or not, these are the impressions I have given and I need to do better, and I can and I will.
And while I disarm my rhetoric I request, on your behalf, that the Republicans do the same. No more calling me a socialist, or unfairly questioning my integrity and intent or that of the Democrats. Let’s tone down the rhetoric and get to work.
Our great nation cannot afford two years of gridlock. Republicans may see opportunity in gridlock and obstinance that could lead them to occupy the White House in 2012, and they must resist this temptation and you the people must stop them if they don’t resist. In return we Democrats must reach out our hands, and you Republicans must grasp our hands and work in good faith with us on the many challenges and opportunities before us. We should protest loudly when anyone puts self, party, or special interest ahead of the people.
If we do these things our nation will recover from its current challenges and remain the envy of the world, and a force for all things good. We can do it. And when I say “Yes We Can”, the “we” means Democrats, Republicans, and all of the American people.