At a time of uncertainty, do Americans want a more aggressive commander in chief?
President Obama is turning out to be a successful war president who can't find his voice on the most pressing issue of his time, which happens to be domestic.
Democrats took a lot of flack for inventing the euphemism "economic security" in the 1990s, partly as a way to describe President Clinton's complicated but generally effective strategy to rebalance risk in the economy. Back then, Americans felt more or less secure about their economic position. But since Obama became president, persistent economic insecurity has defined the political environment.
In a complicated, inter-connected global economy, the president has almost no unilateral authority to fix things. There's no such thing as a presidential jobs agenda -- trade agreements, payroll tax cuts, and regulation reviews are marginal adjustments to the status quo.
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In extraordinary times, presidents can sign their names to bills that do extraordinary things, like the $778 billion economic stimulus package that passed during the first month of Obama's presidency. But that measure was negotiated with another branch of government, with whom Obama shares power. That was, for all intents and purposes, his jobs plan: demand-side stimulus of the economy.