Scott Brown's Massachusetts victory serves notice that Americans don't want big government policies championed by liberal Democrats.
It's not a mandate for Republican tax cuts and deregulation. Rather, from health care to the economy, Democrats should stop accusing critics of deceiving the public and ask what voters would embrace.
To cover the uninsured, Americans would support reforms that made Medicaid and similar programs less expensive and lowered health insurance premiums for the middle class.
Real reform would reduce drug and administrative costs to those in other advanced countries, like Germany or Holland, and end waste imposed by malpractice suits those countries don't endure.
Reform shouldn't impose higher taxes but rather lower costs; the president should apply that yardstick, not budget neutrality.
Regarding unemployment, the $789 billion stimulus package won't deliver the 4 million jobs promised. Fanciful dreams of creating a million jobs in green industries are just that -- fanciful dreams.
American investments in alternative energy technologies may be essential to global economic leadership in the future, but in the here-and-now green industries can provide less than one-tenth of the jobs needed to pull unemployment down to acceptable levels.
Obama must tackle the trade deficit. For many years to come, Americans will use oil and buy manufactured products like cars and computers. Unless Americans export more, or import fewer, of those products, consumer demand won't create enough jobs for Americans.
Alternative energy is important, but Americans will use fossil fuels for a long time. The U.S. has abundant, untapped offshore oil and onshore natural gas. Developing those would generate taxes to reduce the budget deficit and create jobs in drilling, refining and supporting industries.