On Wednesday, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union Address after a dispiriting week of Democratic setbacks. The speech will give him a chance to recalibrate how Democrats govern during a vulnerable election year. Already, Obama has summoned former campaign manager David Plouffe to oversee the party's House, Senate and gubernatorial races. And in Sunday's Washington Post, Plouffe outlined his strategy for how Democrats can beat back Republicans and survive this fall's midterm elections. His piece has prompted other political observers to voice their recommendations for the Democrats 2010 political strategy. Here's the opinion landscape:

  • Fulfill Party Agenda and Defend Enacted Legislation  Plouffe's list of goals for the Democrats include: passing a health care reform bill "without delay"; not just focusing on jobs but creating them; defending the stimulus bill and explaining to voters how it benefited the economy; and staunchly refuting GOP "lectures on spending." On the whole, Plouffe says Americans want a government that helps "foster the security of the middle class."
  • More Clarity and More Competence, suggests the BBC's Katty Kay on Meet the Press: "I would say that lack of clarity is very important, that there is a sense that people aren't confident about the leadership that they're getting from Washington.  And if you remember one of the things in the '08 election that the Republicans and, to some extent, President Bush had been criticized for was a lack of competency.  People wanted to feel that they had a, leadership that they could believe in, that was competent."
  • Get Out of the Weeds, advises Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne: "Ronald Reagan spent a lot of time not lost in the weeds of policy.  He made large arguments, and he made large arguments against the other side.  He spent a lot of time saying this old, failed liberalism doesn't work anymore.  And I think what you need from Obama--in all of the speeches he's given, he has not made a consistent argument, provided a consistent narrative of where I want to move the nation."
  • Embrace and Denounce Washington, advises NBC's political director Chuck Todd: "People are still upset at institutions, and [Obama's] got to figure out how to become the leader of Washington and anti-Washington...Ronald Reagan pulled it off because he still had a Democratic Congress to run against in 1982...What's odd for him is he's got to figure out how to run against his own Democratic Congress in some form or another and run against the institutions of Washington, and that's what's going to be a difficult challenge for him."