Both Candidates Are Playing It Too Safe

Time for innovative policy proposals, not rote party positions
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Sep 24, 2008 12:02 PM CDT
President Bush is greeted by former President Bill Clinton at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall in this Nov. 13, 2006 file photo.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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(Newser) – In facing an extraordinary economic crisis, the presidential nominees are falling back on party orthodoxy instead of staking out bold new positions, Michael Gerson writes with regret in the Washington Post. Both candidates, earlier in the campaign, proved they are capable of provocative ideas, but now they're singing the old standards: Barack Obama wants to redistribute wealth despite the clearly deepening recession; John McCain wants to slash taxes despite the ballooning deficit.

Though some might say that ideological predictability is normal for candidates, Gerson begs to differ. “America's last two presidents ran and governed in at least part revolt against the consensus of their parties.” Such anti-orthodox defiance allowed Clinton to compromise on trade and welfare, and Bush on education. Innovation “eventually makes governing possible.”