Peggy Noonan reports from SOTU:
As the TV cameras panned the chamber, I saw a friendly acquaintance of the president, a Republican who bears him no animus. Why, I asked him later, did the president not move decisively to the political center?
Because he is more “intellectually honest” than that, he said. “I don’t think he can do a Bill Clinton pivot, because he’s not a pragmatist, he’s an ideologue. He’s a community organizer. He mixes the discrimination he felt as a young man with the hardship so many feel in this country, and he wants to change it and the way to change that is government programs and not opportunity.”
The great issue, this friendly critic added, is debt. The public knows this; Congress and the White House do not. “To me the Republicans are as rotten as the Democrats” in terms of spending. “Almost.”
“I hope we have big changes in 2010,” the friend said. Only significant loss will force the president to focus on spending. “To heal our country we need to get the arrogance out of the White House and the elitists out of the Congress. We need tough love. We need a real adult in the White House because we don’t have adults in the Congress.”
Over the last ten years, I’ve become convinced that term limits are absolutely vital to the health of the Republic. They aren’t the only step, but they are a necessary step.