The events in Japan and the Middle East require decisive leadership—and the perception of decisive leadership, which is formed through decisive discourse.
The conventional wisdom is that we are a nation divided, and that politicians speak exclusively to their own constituencies.
But in dangerous and uncertain times—and our present situation qualifies as both—the American people want to hear from their president.
They want you to speak clearly, articulate your vision of the world, and spell out a course for the nation.
The challenges, on a global scale, are considerable: A nuclear power disaster; concerns about anemic growth and inflation; Middle Eastern discord; oil supply worries.
The American people want a context to understand the challenges and vicissitudes of an increasingly complex world.
They want a narrative to follow: One that brings meaning to random and chaotic events. They want not only reassurances but direction and a specific plan of action.
On the content and particulars they are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
But absence from the public sphere or silence on key issues—or simply the perception of absence and silence—is likely to be unforgivable at the polls.
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