OK: I publicly pitched for him, I actively worked for him, I voted for him, I helped elect him, and I'm proud of all of us who did. I figure that I can offer him advice too. So here it is.
You won a sweeping mandate for focused change. You have the political resources to implement it. You have the instincts and the judgment to make it work.
The only place where your margin is narrow is time. You must start immediately and focus on your core goals. And you must utilize that focused pragmatism and knack for calming outreach that are among your special gifts.
What are the immediate requirements?
Clearly, measurable economic recovery, including broad stability and a return to job growth, is a bottom line necessity to maintain public support and start reversing our decline in the short term. Some fairly conventional stimulus measures combined with a return to moderate rationality in regulation ought to get that underway. Banking and housing measures will be a part of this. The details are negotiable. One of the best things about your campaign has been your ability to select the best talent available and get it moving on a task. That skill will be fundamental for you here.
Beyond that, the goals on which immediate movement are most critical are energy and health care. You must take advantage of this incoming session of Congress to adopt a solid energy package which truly starts the big move toward renewable energy development and implementation.
On health care, your stated goal (I'm paraphrasing here) of universal access to affordable coverage must be the centerpiece. Die-hard Republicans, of course, will continue to bloviate about their mythical pure "market-based" approach. Many progressive Democrats will try to demand the Nirvana of "single-payer" coverage. (And an aside to my progressive friends, I hear you, and your arguments have real merit, but I care more about getting real people covered in our lifetimes here in our politically and economically centrist nation than I care about fighting for the ideal model.)
You, Mr. President, must take charge here. You called it right. You promised a hybrid system with universal access to affordable coverage. You were elected on that basis. You can and must negotiate, be accommodating, let them tinker around the edges, but don't waiver from the core goal. Be firm and if necessary ruthless. Get the bill passed in 2009 and implementation started immediately thereafter, and by the end of your first time it will be too late for anyone to take it back.
On foreign policy, your calm and measured, but principled judgment is solid and I trust you to get it right. As the execrable George W. Bush has demonstrated time and again, you as president will have the power to implement your judgment in this area regardless of what your opponents think. The breathtaking difference is that you will be implementing your moral and responsible principles. Ending American combat roles in Iraq, getting the resources needed to Afghanistan, standing for justice and against abuse of human rights, negotiating with our allies and adversaries in a rational way--you don't need my advice. I have confidence in you.
The rest is either less urgent, can be accomplished without major diversion of your time and political resources, or is just going to require more time. That includes much that is important, and about which I and you and Americans care deeply, but on which your window of time is just a little longer. Immigration reform, trade reform, education reform, transportation policy and more are among the matters which must be addressed, but deliberately and without distracting from what must be done first and now.
I am convinced that you understand all this. That's part of why I have been so enthusiastic about your potential--now impending--presidency. I believe that this is essentially what you have planned.
I don't expect that you or Joe Biden, or even David Plouffe, are waiting for my post to confirm your judgment. I just want you to know that I am starting to make the case to your backers and allies in my neck of the woods about what you're doing and why.
I am excited by the prospects.