Gail Collins: Have you noticed that all the recent presidents could only accomplish a political agenda that belonged to the other side? Bill Clinton got welfare reform and George W. Bush got prescription drugs for Medicare. I've always expected that in his third year, Obama would wind up pushing for something like controlling pension costs for school janitors, and there he was, talking about capping spending....I'm going to keep harping on my theme that Obama could ensure himself a second term and do the country a lot of good using his own personal diversityness to push through a thoroughgoing reform of all the diversity policies that have gone bad over the decades (immigration, disparate impact, Fannie and Freddie quotas, etc etc) because you aren't supposed to talk about diversity policies unless you are diverse yourself.
David Brooks: That is a first class observation. It's true that presidents in recent years have only succeeded by coopting the other party's issues. Their own party goes along for partisan reasons and the other party goes along grudgingly for substantive reasons. Maybe there is some wisdom in this.
Granted, he's not going to do this, but that should be held against him, because it's eminently politically feasible for him and it's well worth doing from a good government standpoint.. Right now, however, the entire concept is off the radar.