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New Public Philosophy needed?

This E.J. Dionne op-ed, combined with one by Robert J. Samuelson (in the same issue of the WaPo), is worth considering for each points to fundamentally different approaches to the role of government in society.  In tryin to understand the Dems losses, Dionne talks about problem solving and post-partisanship and how government should protect people from calamity, in other words make a renewed case for what government should do; that case hasn't been made well enough.  Samuelson thinks that a "new morality" has been created by entitlements and this morality cannot be opposed by the Bowles-Simpson "accounting exercise to shrink the deficit without trying to define what government should do and why."  An opportunity has been lost, in his view, to shape public opinion toward a "new public philosophy."  His argument is not complete, but it points in the right direction.
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Only E.J. Dionne would turn to three Democrats who _lost_ their re-election bids to get the true pulse of the people.

Mr. Samuelson's observations hit every salient point in plain language.

Your summary made it sound as if Mr. Samuelson held the commission chairs responsible for not commencing a thorough reconstruction of the political culture, which would be a rather heavy burden to lay on two retired politicians who are public figures only in North Carolina and Wyoming. He did no such thing.

The responsibility for this sort of political leadership lies with the elected officials, the President more than the others but Mr. Boehner as well. Fat chance for 'a that.

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