Monday, December 3, 2012


American politics remains caught in a hyperpartisan gridlock. We keep fighting many of the same old fights while the new problems and issues get ignored.

There's real wisdom in a quote from Republican campaign operative Ken Mehlman resurrected by Joshua Green:
“If you look back over the last few decades, an era of politics has run its course,” Mehlman told me at the time. “Both parties achieved some of their highest goals. Democrats got civil rights, women’s rights, the New Deal, and recognition of the need for a cleaner environment. Republicans got the defeat of the Soviet Union, less violent crime, lower tax rates, and welfare reform. The public agrees on this. So the issues now become: How do you deal with the terrorist threat? How do you deal with the retirement of the baby boomers? How do you deliver health care with people changing jobs? How do you make sure America retains its economic strength with the rise of China and India? How that plays out is something we don’t know yet.”
Mehlman's questions are the ones the politicians should be dealing with, and their answers need to go beyond the shopworn formulas of "tax the rich," "slash government spending," and "let the market decide."

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