One-term Obama can bring effective and ethical government to Washington

Barack Obama ran for President on a platform of hope and change. While he’s delivered a lot of big things—saving the economy, delivering near-universal health care, beginning to restore America’s reputation abroad, and beginning an end to two wars—he hasn’t begun to change the ways of Washington. His latest attempt lasted only a few hours, before the Republican leadership announced its determination to stop everything unless it got what it demanded in the form of a $700 billion tax break for the rich and super rich.

So what’s an ethical President to do when his attempts at compromise and progress are blocked by House minority leader John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who announced on the eve of the 2010 election, ‘The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.”

More important than the managing the budget crisis, more important than ratifying the START Treaty with Russia, more important than reducing the obscenely high unemployment rate, even more important than tax relief for billionaires!

The answer for the President is staring right at him: give McConnell what he wants most of all, in return for the change Obama promised. Here’s how this grand compromise might work: Obama promises not to run for re-election. In exchange McConnell and Boehner promise to work with the Democratic leadership to achieve:

  • Long-term deficit reduction equivalent to that in the report of the bipartisan deficit commission
  • An economic package, including extension of the Bush tax cuts for earners of under $250,000, temporary extension of unemployment compensation, and infrastructure investment
  • A meaningful reduction of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Comprehensive immigration reform
  • Ratification of the START treaty with Russia
  • Closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay
  • Allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

There’s a package that would allow the President and both houses of Congress to carry out their ethical duty: to do the job that the people elected them to do. It’s the best kind of win-win compromise: it would give Obama and the Democrats what they want most—solutions to the problems they consider most threatening to America’s future, and give the Republicans what they seem to want most—a one-term presidency for Obama.

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