Tom Friedman did a much better job yesterday of making an argument that I've tried to lay out in several recent posts: Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama have solutions equal to our country's problems.

To be sure, Obama comes much closer. He understands the need to walk and chew gum at the same time: the need to reduce the deficit through tax increases and spending cuts while simultaneously investing in areas that make us more competitive. Romney seems a lost cause now, having that dead albatross of the Ryan budget firmly around his neck.

Here's what I struggle with: Why doesn't Obama “go big”? Why is he satisfied with being just better than Romney when it comes to his economic platform? I get that the first priority is to win, but timidity may not be enough to win this year. Obama is in a weak position on the economy, and his simply saying the other guy is worse may not be enough.

But there is a broader opportunity here if Obama will seize it: Run on a much bolder plan of deficit reduction and investment to make our economy more competitive and to create more opportunity.

There is a formula for great leadership: a crisis vision and a willingness to meet it. The second variable in that equation is still up for grabs.