Tag Archives: John Boehner

Brooks on a Grand Bargain Strategy

Obama, who sounded so fresh in 2008, now sometimes sounds a bit like Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. Obama, who inspired the country, now threatens to run a campaign that is viciously negative. Obama, who is still widely admired because he is reasonable and calm, is in danger of squandering his best asset by pretending to be someone he is not. Obama, a natural unifier and conciliator, seems on the verge of running as a divisive populist while accusing Mitt Romney, his possible opponent, of being inauthentic.

It’s misguided. It raises the ideological temperature and arouses the Big Government/Small Government debate. It repels independents, who don’t like the finance majors who went to Wall Street but trust the history majors who went to Washington even less.

Obama would be wiser to champion a Grand Bargain strategy. Use the Congressional deficit supercommittee to embrace the sort of new social contract we’ve been circling around for the past few years: simpler taxes, reformed entitlements, more money for human capital, growth and innovation.

Don’t just whisper Grand Bargain in back rooms with John Boehner. Make it explicit. Take it to the country. Lower the ideological atmosphere and get everybody thinking concretely about the real choices facing the nation.

If you don’t trust voters to be serious, they won’t trust you.

Read the rest of David Brooks’ op-ed here.

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Filed under Election 2012

The Worst Obstructionism Since Hoover

Megan McArdle writing on her talk with David Kennedy, author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. 
One of the things we talked about was the obstruction that Obama has faced.  And it turns out there was a very good parallel: the Democratic Congress that Hoover had to contend with.  By the last year of his term, Hoover had a Democratic majority in control of congress.  And according to Kennedy, they used their power to the hilt.
“Hoover also faced a very obstructionist Democratic Congress–they understood, as these guys do today, that if they just go in the middle of the road and refused to move, that would benefit them at the next election.  And it paid off.”
The myth of Hoover’s inaction in the face of the Great Depression was thus partially a product of the opposition party that greatly benefited from its propagation.

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Filed under Domestic Politics, Economics