March 13, 2009

AT THE END OF HISTORY, THE SUCCESS OF A LEADER OF THE LEFT...:

Obama vs. the Democrats: Fighting with the GOP is nothing compared to battles that await the president in his own party—over Iraq, health care, and entitlement reform. John Avlon on the coming Democratic wars. (John Avlon, 3/13/09, Daily Beast)

Southern Democrat Lyndon Johnson passed civil-rights legislation. Nixon went to China. Bill Clinton enacted welfare reform. Often it’s a president’s struggle with his own party that results in real progress. And now it’s President Obama’s relationship with liberal special interests and the House Democrats like Nancy Pelosi that will shape the narrative of his administration, for better and for worse. [...]

Obama has cleverly shifted the rhetoric for the rationale of health-care reform to fiscal responsibility and international competitiveness in the global economy. Following through on the promise of a public-private solution with minimal big government mandates will be essential to avoiding yet another patented perfect-is-the-enemy-of-the-good Democratic defeat. Areas ripe for post-partisan negotiation include allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines and including medical-malpractice reform in any package to reduce the costs of defensive medicine while winning doctors’ support for the plan.

But the biggest Nixon-in-China move for President Obama will be following through on entitlement reform. Despite liberal sacred-cow status, it is the looming cost of Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare that casts the longest shadow over the U.S. economy. You can’t talk about an era of responsibility while kicking the costs of an aging population’s entitlements to the next generation. When Presidents Clinton and Bush attempted to address Social Security’s impending insolvency, it got caught up in partisan politics as usual and went nowhere. We can’t afford to pass the buck any longer and President Obama is the best positioned of all to enact real reform. He’ll likely appoint a bipartisan commission and a BRAC-style up-or-down vote on the entire package. The stiffest opposition he will face will come from the left—with a few predictable ideologues on the far-right complaining that the reforms don’t go far enough. But those are the most worthwhile fights when you’re attempting to do what’s right and responsible for the long-term national interest.


...is directly proportional to his opposition to the Left.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2009 7:14 AM
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