You don’t have to be a political wonk to agree that President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address could be the one that truly merits the overworked designation, “the most important speech of his political life.” In addition to tapping the usual sources for guidance and inspiration, the President would be wise to consider the insights of some of the ‘best and brightest’ outside his immediate political orbit.
Toward that end, The Washington Monthly has an excellent round table, which should be of considerable interest to all Democrats, as well as the leader of the Party, “What He Should Say in the State of the Union.” The forum features a broad spectrum of leading Democratic thinkers, including TDS Co-Editors William Galston and Ruy Teixeira; Heather Hurlburt; Will Marshall; Howard Dean; Michael Kazin; Theda Skocpol; Debra J. Dickerson; Jeffrey Leonard; Andres Martinez and Bruce Bartlett.
As Galston sets the stage for the forum in his essay:
The ten “memos to President Obama” that we present in this issue of the Washington Monthly are thus, for me at least, a replay of sorts. They are an attempt to solicit fresh thinking for a White House that needs it now as much as we did back then. Certainly the drubbing Clinton received in 1994 was every bit as bad as the shellacking Obama got in November, and the political road ahead seemed to us no less forbidding than it must to the current administration. The good news is that after listening to outside advice, Bill Clinton reconceived his presidency in the face of the Gingrich Revolution, and that reconception led, two years later, to his reelection. Barack Obama can do the same.
The ten memos are full of nuggets, which the President and his speechwriters could mine and sift for innovative ideas and strategies. In fact, all Dems could benefit from giving the round table a sober reading