Eleanor Clift has five suggestions for how Barack Obama can emulate Ronald Reagan, avoid really big losses in the midterms, and set himself up for reelection. Number one on the list is getting his health care plan passed. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs predicted this morning that that project will be completed before the Sunday shows are taped next week. Obviously, it’s important that the president and the Democrats make a major push to defend and explain the legislation after it passes.

Clift’s second suggestion is pretty stupid. She wants Obama to talk to his Secretary of State about how he can connect with white working class voters. You know, those voters in Appalachia that loved Hillary so much. It’s possible for Obama to win over a decent percentage of the white working class vote, but he has to do it by winning the argument in the same way that Ronald Reagan won the argument against liberalism in the 1980-84 period. He has to convince them that the Republicans are elitists that are obstructing financial reform and that all their values talk is just a smokescreen to dupe working class people into voting against their economic interests. Obama can win over the white working class by pushing a financial reform bill in the fall, and making the Republicans filibuster it. This will help set up an argument in every senate race against adding new Republicans to the mix and also set the stage for changing the filibuster rule in the next Congress.

Clift’s third suggestion is to pass more small-bore Cash-for-Clunkers programs that connect with people in a common sense way. I actually agree with this. It’s better to pass five little jobs bills than one big one because it avoids giving the impression that you think you’ve solved the unemployment problem. High unemployment is going to persist over the next four years, so it’s vital that Congress be in a constant state of working on jobs. One big comprehensive bill (like a second stimulus) might work, but it won’t look like it is working.

Fourth, Clift says that Obama should use Bush the way that Reagan used Carter. Do you want to go back to gas lines and hyperinflation? Do you want to get humiliated by some Ayatollah? Why go back to that? And, of course, Clift is right. Bush should be tied around the Republicans’ necks like a double-weight Herbert Hoover. Why would things be better the second time around?

Finally, Clift suggests putting off climate change and immigration reform until next year. As a matter of timing, from a purely political point of view, immigration reform should be done in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012, where it will coincide with the Republican primaries. This will force the Republicans to broadcast their fundamental racism in the brightest sunlight and continue their alienation from all but the white religionists in our society. But, in any case, the docket is already pretty full this year and immigration will probably have to wait. Climate change legislation is a bit of a conundrum. Politically, pushing the bill will probably add to the number of seats the Democrats lose this year. But, substantively, it’s better to pass something now (even if it is only supported by Lindsey Graham and Olympia Snowe among Republicans) than to wait until we have only 53-55 senators.

I like to play poker and there is one weakness the Republicans have. They do not change up their strategy. By opposing everything, they are very easy to set-up. It’s like a Texas Hold ‘Em player who always raises pre-flop regardless of how bad their cards are. They might get you to fold some good hands, but when they lose, they lose really big. The Party of No can be relied upon to filibuster everything. So, all Obama has to do is schedule the right bill for September and October. I say that bill is the financial overhaul Chris Dodd is getting ready to unveil next week. Go after the banks and megacorporations and make the Republicans filibuster all through September and October. The worst that can happen is that the regulations pass. Even better, they don’t pass and the people are furious with the Republicans.

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