Matthews: Obama needs to be proactive, not reactive, heading into November


Let me finish tonight with the need for President Obama to do something — something big.

I have watched the Republicans in Congress put up their wall to action. It’s said that they don’t want Obama to succeed so they are giving him nothing that he could call success. 

I have watched American business hold back its trillions of dollars. Is this for fear that a heavy stream of investment would improve the economy?   

And why is there no debt deal between the President and the Congress? Don’t both sides see the same problem down the road, the kind of catastrophe now facing Greece and other European countries at the periphery?

I think the President has two options: he can wait this out, head into November hoping something will pop up in the economy, that there will be a sudden spurt of investment out there. He can do that, which is to do nothing, or he can put a big proposal up there for all to see — and him to campaign on — and dare the Republicans in Congress to say “no.” 

I think the President would be in the strongest possible position heading into November with a clearly-understood plan to move the country from where we are to where we want to be.  

I can offer only one suggestion: do what President Eisenhower did in the 1950s. He built the interstate highway system in this country — the route 95s, the route 70s and 80s.  

Now it’s time for another president to follow up. Obama has saved the American auto industry. Why not build and rebuild good highways and bridges for those new cars to drive on. This could put 5 million people to work, as Governor Rendell said on Friday. It could create the kind of economic demand that’s lacking from business.  

His slogan could be, “My way is the highway!”

Let’s get America moving again. It sure beats sitting around waiting for Boehner or Cantor or McConnell to do something. They don’t want to do something, not unless and until they get their hands on this government totally.