ONCE upon a time before the onslaught of the great recession under President Barack Obama’s watch, professionals and middle management executives were enjoying the fruits of their American dream: lunch at fancy restaurants such as Nello, Asia de Cuba and Le Cirque, and dinner at Daniel, Le Bernardin, Tao and Oceana.

Those happy days are just memories of the recent past.

An alarming bad news was published in the Sept. 3, 2011 issue of the New York Post captioned “Call him O, as in zero — President’s net August job growth is nil.”

The start of Labor Day weekend showed that a nearly year-long growth in employment had abruptly grounded to a halt in August.

The addition of 17,000 new jobs in private industry was wiped out by the loss of 17,000 government jobs.

It was the first time since 1945 that a monthly jobs report had a bottom line of zero.

And the jittery stock market plunged 2 percent on the discouraging news.

Only 26 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy according to the latest Gallup Poll.

Unemployment rate remains at 9.1 percent and jobless rate for African-Americans hit 6.7 percent, the highest since 1984.

One speech can reclaim O’s dignity

Michael Goodwin’s column published in the Aug. 10, 2011 issue of the New York Post has urged President Obama to emulate President Lyndon Johnson in 1968.

Goodwin continued: Like LBJ, you are the head of a divided nation and there is no reason to believe you can heal it.

The market reaction to the historic debt downgrade and your recent speech was a ringing vote of no confidence in your leadership.

This is a crisis, and you have lost public trust.

Like LBJ, you can reclaim the moral high ground by putting country first.

By announcing you will not seek re-election — with good Shermanesque finality — you will give your party time to find a replacement.

Most important, you can then give your full attention over the next 16 months to crafting bipartisan solutions to our many problems without the distractions of campaigning or doubts about your motives.

Remember, you pledged to end the divisions between red states and blue states.

You have failed, but there is still one hope left.

Mr. President, just say the words.

It’s the change America needs.

Goodwin’s open letter to President Obama starts: Knowing your interest in how previous presidents faced national crises.

I recommend an example you might have missed.

It’s an Oval Office speech by President Lyndon Johnson.

By early 1968, President Johnson’s presidency had hit a dead end.

Ahead lay only the continued quagmire of Vietnam and a nation so divided he could not unite it.

His approval rating was a dismal 36 percent and only one in four Americans approved of the war.

President Johnson noted that the deficit could reach $20 billion and he cited doubts about America’s willingness to keep its financial house in order and warned of a threat to the dollar’s role as the keystone of international trade and finance.

Then President Johnson suddenly switched the subject: he warned that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Then declared: There is division in the American house now and said it was his duty to put its repair above all else.

His bombshell: Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.

A reader of Goodwin’s open letter to President Obama wrote: I nominate Goodwin for another Pulitzer, and sincerely hope President Obama heeds his call.

America needs the proverbial shock treatment — and that is what Goodwin provides in his open letter to Obama — Nancy Jancourtz, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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