Last night I got to watch two Beltway thinkers, David Brooks and Mark Shields, discuss the prospect of a second term for President Obama. As I recall it, they agreed that the Republican Party was full of Bold Ideas, but that Obama really had nothing.
If Obama is really hard-pressed for ideas, I just happen to have one for his acceptance speech this Thursday: tackling the Medicare problem – no vouchers allowed.
They said only Nixon could go to China, by which was meant that only a veteran Commie-hater president could visit China without the right wing being hysterical that he was secretly planning to turn America over to the Peoples' Army. And "they" were right.
By the same token, only the Democrats can "reform" Medicare. The Republicans are determined to end it, replacing it with a voucher system. What Obama needs is a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House, and he should say so. A continuation of a divided Congress is not a check-and-balance so much as it is a recipe for more stalemate.
"Give me a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, and we'll tackle this problem, but we'll tackle it with the idea that we'll do what we need to to save as much of it as we can. We won't be like the Republicans, who think America is incapable of solving this problem and have already given up on it. And this way you'll know, if cuts truly are necessary, that they're unavoidable cuts, and the least painful cuts – not just cuts designed to lower Mitt Romney's taxes – because the Democrats built it and we want to save it."