Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s got to go, and he's got to go quickly.
The president can't stick with him, it's an absurd mistake, he needs a change in direction for his economic policy. It is the only way the United States can get moving again. The president needs to recognize that success is success and failure is failure, and under Geithner's watch we have been downgraded, we haven't been able to resolve our ongoing economic problems, and his credibility in Washington is close to zero.
That being said, there is a clear move President Obama can and should make immediately to begin to resolve his political and financial problems.
There is only one man in America who has the ability to get the Republicans in the room to bargain with them and bargain successfully. That man is Erskine Bowles who was President Clinton's Chief of Staff. Bowles successfully negotiated a balanced budget agreement with Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in 1996 and was the co-chairman, with former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson of the Bowles-Simpson commission.
That commission produced over $4 trillion in cuts over 10 years, won support across the board from 11 of the 18 members and called for making nothing sacrosanct in the budget. Discretionary expenditures, non-discretionary expenditures, entitlements were all on the table. The commission sought to lower rates through tax reform and removed loopholes as a means of raising revenue.
What Obama needs to do is to fire Geithner immediately, make Bowles a sort of “super secretary” of the treasury, and outsource economic policy too.
Bowles can then go to the Super Committee of Congress that was created as a result of the debt extension deal and can then begin a process both with the super committee and outside of the committee to recreate and recast the Bowles-Simpson commission on a ad-hoc basis using former commission members of the Gang of 6 and the Senate who worked so valiantly to take their version of Bowles-Simpson and put it into policy form.
It is only by doing this that President Obama has any chance of getting economic policy back on target. Pursuing the same approaches, the same talking points and the same vague generalities he did in his speech on Monday is a recipe for failure, politically and economically.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist and Fox News contributor. His most recent book is "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Douglas E. Schoen has served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton and is currently working with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant. He is also a Fox News contributor and co-host of "Fox News Insiders" Sundays on Fox News Channel and Mondays at 10:30 am ET on FoxNews.com Live. He is the author of ten books including,“Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond” (Rowman and Littlefield 2012). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.