Wow, I am astounded and gratified. Shortly after I suggested that America needs constitutional reform regarding two things, the disproportionate power of the Senate and the inability of our system to limit spending on political campaigns, David Brooks chimes in to say that the system might be broken and that there should be a debate about constitutional reform. I trust he’s not talking about abortion, but since he does not even indicate what he has in mind, there is no way of knowing. I would probably be willing to throw abortion back to the states if it meant limiting the power of the Senate significantly.
Most of Brooks’s column is an argument to the effect that Obama’s new New Deal is dead, that he will have to trim his sails and offer competence and hard talk about the tough fiscal choices ahead. Maybe, maybe not. Obama should try to get health care reform legislation passed somehow and then do a better job of trying to educate the public about the big reform issues, energy policy, financial regulation, education, and global warming (in no particular order). What Brooks says about the public’s mood is not implausible, though. But Obama should also do a better job of blaming Republican ideology for the country’s problems, even if Clinton spearheaded the financial deregulation which produced the most recent financial meltdown. It should never be forgotten that the financial meltdown happened on Bush’s watch and that his whole administration was asleep at the financial wheel.
On the assumption that Brooks is implying that the senate is granted too much power under the constitution, given present political and demographic conditions, this is a startling admission for him to make. And I must say that I agree entirely with Brooks that there has to be some tough talk with the supposedly wise American people to the effect that there is no free lunch.
Krugman points out today that the Republicans would apparently push again for privatization of Social Security if they regained the presidency. This really strains credulity. I would have thought that that would be a total nonstarter now, in light of the financial meltdown.