About healthcare reform, Nancy Pelosi famously said back in 2010 that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” Apparently, the same applies to a potential second term for President Obama (via ABC News):
At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”
The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.
President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
Will someone please transmit this information to the American people? And not just about missile defense. (UPDATE: One on-point tweet: “Sounds like Etch-a-Sketch foreign policy with Russia!) What exactly does Obama want to do with four more years? What does he want to do when he has “more flexibility?”
The New Republic magazine has been holding an online symposium about what the president should do with added time. Among the ideas offered:
– Obama should fight for civil liberties, including the appointment of “committed civil libertarians” to the federal courts and regulatory agencies.
– Obama should push for political reform, including public financing of elections and ending the Senate filibuster rule.
– Obama should give more speeches, “articulating and championing great liberal principles and goals.”
– Obama should “initiate the process of ending the War on Drugs.”
– Obama should focus on defending Obamacare.
Of course, the big issues should be tax reform and entitlement reform. But who knows what Obama wants to do about those. As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently testified to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan: “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term [budget] problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”
Obama has never presented a long-term debt reduction plan. Will he push for a more powerful IPAB, his new Medicare cost-cutting panel, and maybe try to extend its reach to all of Obamacare?
And as for taxes, all we really know is that he wants wealthier Americans to pay more of them. Will he let all the Bush tax cuts expire, including those on the middle class, when he obtains that post-election “flexibility?” There has been some speculation about just that. Will he push for higher Social Security taxes, maybe lift the earnings cap?
Just how high does Obama want taxes to go? Just how much more government intervention does Obama want in the U.S. economy?
Maybe Vladimir knows.