The Washington Post

Can Obama return to ‘change we can believe in’?

Mark Schmitt thinks that if President Obama is reelected, he should get back to the animating issue of the 2008 campaign: Changing how Washington works.

It would be a mistake to think of process-reform as a luxury. The political dysfunction in Washington is now its own crisis—one to be addressed on its own terms. If the economy recovery remains on solid ground—a big if, of course—Obama should reclaim, both on the campaign trail and upon re-election, his original mission and passion: Reform of the political process. Pollster Stanley Greenberg concluded in July 2011 that voters are more open than ever before to thinking about economic inequality and stress as connected to political inequality and a sense that the “the game is rigged” and people “do not think their voices matter.”

As for my personal obsession — filibuster reform — Schmitt thinks the likely Republican takeover of the Senate might actually be a gift to Obama:

The best hope for ending the filibuster, unfortunately, is probably a Republican Senate majority, but if that occurs, it might be worth letting them go forward with ending the filibuster for majorities of the future. After all, Obama will still have the power to veto their worst excesses.

Schmitt’s piece is part of a New Republic symposium asking ‘what Obama should do if he’s reelected. You can read all the contributions here.

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