2011 will be the year that we learn if President Obama learned anything in the first two years of office. He came in with little experience but was indoctrinated by fire inheriting the financial crisis and fiscal mess left by the Bush Administration and two wars. All continue today.
The mid terms said a lot but the one takeaway that the President cannot forget is the country’s desire to cut spending. Some would argue that a Democratic President should buckle under the pressure to cut spending. After all, Democrats supposedly like to create spending programs and redistribute wealth. And that the pressure from our base will make it politically impossible for a Democrat to successfully cut spending programs.
I argue who better than a Democrat to identify spending programs that are no longer working or need change. Nothing important is ever easy politically. And this President needs to step up and take this responsibility seriously. His prospects in 2012 will depend on the success he has tackling spending and the deficit in 2011.
There will be many distractions and many opportunities to move on to other pressing issues. But, mark my words. Spending and the deficit are the only issues that matter. His own Commission led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson laid out some good ideas. I am confident that he has learned a lot in these two years and that he has the courage and political will to succeed.