David Brooks: If the president is truly committed to a strategy for progressive fiscal stability, as Bill Clinton was, he’ll make that the center of his campaign. He’ll earn a mandate.
Going back to 1962, domestic spending has hovered around 3.3 percent of G.D.P. In big-spending years (the Jimmy Carter years), it rose to about 4.4 percent. In low-spending years (Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s second terms), it fell to about 2.9 percent of G.D.P.
I’ll just say that my conversations reaffirm my conviction that Obama is a pragmatic liberal who cares about fiscal sustainability, who has been willing to compromise for its sake, but who has not offered anything close to a sufficient program to avoid a debt crisis.