It is the Economy, StupidIt really was just all about the economy and jobs. Americans were angry and confused about the lack of jobs, and their frustration found expression in the polls. We humans are genetically incapable of thinking clearly when we are scared and angry, susceptible to bigotry and prejudice in periods of uncertainty and change.
Strategy: Appear more recalcitrant, empathetic and focused on jobs. Appear more open and transparent in the way we are transforming the country to address these and other issues. Include the economy and jobs in speeches more often, and work with Republicans on further programs without compromising fundamental principles.
The electorate does not understand KeynesFDR saved the nation from a 10 year Depression by spending more money in history and instituting the New Deal. That is what Obama did!
FDR implemented the New Deal despite his election losses. Likewise Obama strives to lay in additional foundational reform for public service, health care, the automotive industry and unions in general. Those reforms will remain for the long term, providing a lasting legacy and placing Obama in the history books as one of the most effective and stabilizing Presidents.
Strategy: Obama and the state media must continue to communicate government economics and the strong foundation which he is laying for tomorrow's modern economy; greener, friendlier, kinder, and less dependent on greed and corporate malfeasance.
Progressives should have been more aggressiveA major lesson learned is that compromise can create its own backlash. Part of the issue with Obama's policies are that they were not aggressive and pure enough. Often it is more effective to press on despite partisanship and prove through effectiveness. The stimulus is a good example; it should have been multiple times larger. Likewise, Obamacare ended up frustrating both Republicans and Progressives. A purely government solution would ultimately have been more palatable and understandable an effective.
Strategy: More effectively communicate and teach. Especially on fundamental pieces of legislation, PR must be order of magnitudes higher in terms of clarity and volume. Also, watering down the legislation does more harm than good.
In the end, Republicans have no clear strategy forward. They will bury themselves in the melee to come. State media can hasten their demise by targeting Republican leadership by running a steady stream of negative below-the-fold stories highlighting their personal and professional deficiencies.
For 2012, there remains the fundamental strength of Obama's presidency and electability. No one on the national stage rivals him. He is articulate, intelligent and visionary and economically evolved. This advantage stands the party on firm ground despite the election set back. And the economy is improving.
There is no reason to panic. With the above strategic adjustments, Progressives remain in the driver's seat and well positioned to drive the economy forward.