Let the poker game begin

The president will be getting much advice now that he’s been reelected, including from those of us who wished he’d been more aggressive during his first term, but quietly hoped and prayed nonetheless that he’d be reelected.

First thing he must do, as I suggested in this blog on Oct. 29 (“Taking a leaf from Bill Clinton's playbook”), is convene top-level businessmen, congressmen, Simpson-Bowles-Gang-of-Whatever-the-Number, and personally highlight a wise bipartisan proposal for debt reduction and tax reform and jobs expansion. Make it very public and keep the pressure on. Don’t wait for the end-of-year fiscal cliff to push for a compromise.

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The president must play the hand like a crafty poker player. Time reporters claimed that as an Illinois state legislator, Barack Obama was a conservative poker player in his regular late-night games in Springfield. Now, after the election, which surely gave him a mandate on taxing the rich, he must play his hand powerfully.

Like his risky decision to send the SEALs after Bin Laden, it is the way to succeed with this recalcitrant but wounded Congress. It is his last term in office. All in! This time it is for history, for the people, not reelection.