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.