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Comment: What does America want for Xmas?

By Jonathan Mann, CNN
Mann: Palin needs to decide if she's going to be a celebrity author, a working politician or a face on the fringes of U.S. public life.
Mann: Palin needs to decide if she's going to be a celebrity author, a working politician or a face on the fringes of U.S. public life.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Holiday season, end of year gives opportunity to review hopes for U.S. politics
  • Comment:Obama needs to concentrate on increasing employment opportunities
  • Comment: Is Sarah Palin a celebrity author, politician -- or on the fringes of politics
  • Comment: American people need peace after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
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(CNN) -- There's an enormous "National Christmas Tree" in Washington D.C. that stands more than 12 meters high. With one week left to go, here's a list of big presents you could put there:

President Barack Obama needs jobs; a lot of them. Fifteen million Americans are looking for work and more than 11 million others are under-employed and looking for better work.

His popularity is sagging under the weight of so many people's worries. Economists are calling America's rise out of recession a "jobless recovery." Obama needs to change that.

Sarah Palin needs a job too; just one. She's no longer the attention-grabbing Republican candidate for the U.S. vice-presidency or the governor of Alaska either. She did write a best-selling autobiography but last week she finished traveling across the country to publicize it.

Now, she has to decide if she's going to be a celebrity author, a working politician or just a face on the fringes of American public life.

Republicans need a plan. After their disastrous showing in last year's election, they're gaining confidence and momentum. They're giving voice to voters' concerns, on everything from the president's healthcare overhaul to the war in Afghanistan. But having demonstrated what they stand against, they're still trying to decide what they stand for.

Democrats need to ignore Christmas -- they've already had it. The party won control of the White House and the Congress last November, with a president who captured the attention of the world. That was the easy part. Now, the tasks and tensions of governing are making for hard work, not a holiday.

The American people need peace. Eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the country a trillion dollars, enough to pay for Obama's proposed new healthcare system for a decade. The wars have also taken the lives of more than 5,000 Americans and countless more soldiers and civilians of other nationalities.

It's the season of peace. Let's hope for it.