Ruling from the Technocratic Bipartisan Center and Waiting for the Press to Notice and Say: "Hey! Those Republicans Are Crazy! You Should Not Vote for Them!" Is Not Good Politics and Does Not Lead to Good Policy...
Department of "Huh?!": Obama Election Season Edition

I Do Think Mark Schmitt Is a Very Smart Person

So it is interesting how far he could have been wrong:

Mark Schmitt, November 17, 2010 2008:

The Audacity of Patience: The massive resistance Republicans posed to Clinton in 1993 is impossible to imagine today. The Republican coalition is utterly shattered, and the angry white Palin wing of the party, for all its visibility, is a minority even within a minority. What's in it for a moderate Republican senator like Richard Lugar of Indiana (who tacitly endorsed Obama), Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, or Olympia Snowe of Maine to resist Obama on health care or climate change? At their age, they will never be in the majority again, and they surely don't want their legacies to be nothing but obstruction. While their support may not be needed to pass legislation, it will strengthen the sense of public consensus and consultation, just as Ted Kennedy's support of Bush's No Child Left Behind Act helped build broad acceptance of a radical change in education policy.

On the Democratic side of the coalition, the more conservative Blue Dogs of the majority are still far more liberal than the real conservative Democrats of the Clinton era, who, when they later changed parties, turned out to be among the most right-wing of Republicans. The Blue Dogs are fundamentally economic populists, albeit with a real concern about the federal budget deficit, which serves partly as a symbol of Bush-era mismanagement. But the economic crisis has brought a new consensus that, at least in the short term, the deficit should be allowed to rise, which may make coalitions involving Blue Dogs easier to build on some issues. On other issues, such as labor-law reform, a few Northern Republicans like Specter might make up for the loss of a few Blue Dogs.

To consolidate the broad coalition, Obama, like other reconstructive leaders, will have to challenge some of the assumptions and institutions that come from the old era, just as FDR couldn't make lasting change until he had broken the Supreme Court's prevailing beliefs about the limits to government involvement in the economy. Many of those assumptions are falling already. The financial bailout and failure of deregulation have broken the "Washington Consensus" about markets. The recession has broken the obsession with short-term deficit reduction, although the idea remains that a long-term crisis limits our choices. The debate about taxation in the campaign, while constrained by Obama's promise of a tax cut for everyone earning less than $150,000, by the end nonetheless revealed a broad acceptance that the better-off have more responsibility to pay for public goods, breaking the Reagan-era assumption that taxes are poison to liberal aspirations. The grueling six years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have opened up a new willingness to see America's role not just as a matter of toughness but as a question of a shared destiny.

As the old assumptions crumble, the challenge for Obama is not just to pass legislation but to build the foundations of a new vision that is large enough to meet the new era, and bring not just political success, but, like FDR's and Reagan's long eras, the kind of consensus that lives through 30 years of Democratic and Republican administrations alike. (Or perhaps some new party yet unknown.) That's not the work of 100 days. It's not something that can be done with use of raw executive power and a congressional super-majority. It's a matter of organizing, education, and redefining the questions...