Barack Obama Does The Impossible

Matt Miller continues to advocate for a third party in America:

This goes well beyond the jobs crisis or the budget. Take education. Democrats can’t say we need to fire bad teachers who are blighting the lives of countless kids, because teachers unions are the party’s most powerful interest group. But Republicans can’t say we need to raise salaries for new teachers substantially if we’re going to lure a new generation of talent to the classroom, because that’s admitting that money is part of the answer. Trouble is, we’ll never solve what ails education without getting bad teachers out and paying up for new talent to come in. That means Democrats and Republicans can’t solve the problem.

Isn’t Miller’s position on this exactly the position of President Obama? It seems to me that 15 months ago, Miller was touting “the exciting reform energy unleashed across the country by Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s creative competition.” I would also note that George W. Bush boosted federal K-12 spending substantially.

Or take health care. Republicans say the answer is to repeal President Obama’s reforms — but they won’t offer plans to insure more than 3 million of the 50 million Americans who lack coverage. Yet Democrats want to micromanage providers, protect the trial lawyers who bankroll their campaigns, and fully insulate people from the costs of their own care, assuring that there’s no consumer brake on runaway costs. Again, Democrats and Republicans can’t solve the problem.

Democrats wrote and passed a major health care bill back in 2010. It they wanted to “fully insulate people from the costs of their own care” that would have been a good opportunity to do this. But they didn’t. I’m not sure how people with centrist views expect to see the political system respond to them if they fail to acknowledge it when their views are adopted. There obviously are important ideological litmus tests in American politics, of which the absolute prohibition on Republicans raising taxes strikes me as the most consequential, but it’s hard to talk about them if you won’t identify them precisely.