Galston Makes a Good Call

Having smacked around Bill Galston here a few days ago for parroting the MSNBC/DNC line on voter ID and vote fraud, fairness requires that Power Line give him a shoutout for his post on The New Republic blog today where he warns Democrats of the consequences of demonizing Paul Ryan rather than debating fiscal policy seriously:

Here’s what I fear will happen instead. The Obama campaign will not take the other side in a high-minded debate. Instead, it will relentlessly attack Romney-Ryan for plotting to “end Medicare as we know it,” and for leaving the poor to go hungry without food stamps and suffer, even die, without health insurance. In the process, the Obama campaign will rule out not only the Romney-Ryan plans, but also less draconian reforms that might be part of a long-term solution. . .

Let me be specific. A number of Democrats once believed—and some still do—that a well-crafted version of premium support is part of a balanced and sustainable long-term fix for Medicare. If the effect of the Ryan choice is to take not only the Ryan budget’s version of premium support off the table, but also the kinds of approaches that Alice Rivlin and Ron Wyden have proposed, then we’ll be left with far less appealing options for stabilizing Medicare.

This is one example of a broader point: The status quo is a very poor point of departure for the decisions we’ll have to make—if not in 2013, when we should, then later, and under duress. If Obama wins the election by playing on the fear of change, which is very real, then the election will settle nothing, and our already dysfunctional political system will be mired in gridlock indefinitely.

Good for Bill.  Now, will his party step up?  Is the temperature dropping in Hell yet?

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