Third, rise above the fray. "I hope some of these folks who are hollering about deficits and debt step up, because I'm calling their bluff," Obama said at the G-20 summit. Contrast that with the Tory slogan, "We are all in this together." Granted, the United Kingdom has a coalition government and we don't—but it has a united-we-stand, divided-we-fall ring to its rhetoric that appeals to all sides. Lately, Obama seems a long way from "Yes, we can."
Fourth, don't just play to your base. Judging by what he said at the G-20, if Obama had his way, the U.S. government would continue trying to stimulate its way out of the recession, which appeals to his liberal base. Similarly, if Cameron had played only to Tories, he'd be offering a budget that gets balanced only through spending cuts. But to hold his Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition together, Cameron is committed to using an 80-to-20 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. This means that since the package includes £10 billion in new taxes, it must also include cuts totaling £40 billion over the next few years—the equivalent of the entire annual British defense budget. Liberal-Democrats didn't like the spending cuts; Conservatives didn't like the tax hikes; and Labour hated all of it. But both sides of Cameron's coalition are likely to stick together and get it passed.
Finally, get with the team. Senate Democrats rejected Obama's additional stimulus plan before he left home; at the G-20, he was the odd man out regarding additional spending. A broad consensus is emerging on fiscal restraint, reaching from Cameron and our European allies all the way to soccer moms at Tea Parties. Obama can choose to join the team. Most Europeans and Americans already have.