I don’t want to go on about this at too much length, but David Brooks’ pox on both houses “Hamiltonian” lament ends with a set of positive policy proposals that seems to be entirely composed of things Barack Obama has proposed. Ezra Klein spells it out in more detail.
I’ll just add that even more so than what I said about budget options, this is a situation in which complaints are properly addressed to the nature of American political institutions. Barack Obama’s ambitious reform agenda winds up looking, in practice, a lot like squalid transactional interest group brokerage because the American system is biased against ambitious reform agendas and in favor of squalid transactional interest group brokerage. I agree with Brooks that this is a serious problem, but the irony is that falling for the conceit that you can overcome it by putting someone else in the pilot seat is one of Obama’s worst attributes. Now he’s being bitten by it.