There is a lot of anger on the left about the supposed passivity and lack of leadership shown by the president, and calls for greater symbolism and fire in the belly are mounting. Here is a suggestion: Obama could adopt a man-of-the-people regimen more in line with his own radically egalitarian politics and the current hard times.
For example, on his fiftieth birthday, instead of hosting a $40,000-a-person fund raiser for “millionaires and billionaires” and “corporate jet owners,” he could have a picnic in a small farm town, eating hot dogs with rural folks and staging a photo-op driving a tractor (though I acknowledge the risk of a Dukakis-tank moment). Then, given that there are three wars ongoing, he could have renounced all golf outings until the troops are out of harm’s way; horse-shoes at the White House or jogging would send a better message for an era of 9.2 percent unemployment.
During the August vacation time, Obama could veto the now accustomed first-family junkets to places like Costa del Sol and Martha’s Vineyard, and instead try a middle-class American favorite like a trip to Yosemite or Yellowstone. Given the president’s emphasis on green energy and rising gas prices, coupled with the current difficulty with the Chevy Volt, Obama might occasionally, for short trips, trade the huge SUV caravan for a motorcade of Volts.
The Left used to mock Reagan’s summertime chopping and Bush’s chainsawing, but Obama could really use some similar photo-ops showing a connection with the muscular world of his constituents. Could he not take a two- or three-day vacation at his home in Chicago and do some weed-eating or mowing around the yard?