The Song Remains the Same
For an election that is ostensibly about change, I am hearing an awful lot from the two presidential candidates lately that sounds like traditional partisan rhetoric. Whether the two presumptive nominees (and self-styled reformers) are talking about the relative merits of governmental intervention and free markets, tax cuts as an instrument of economic growth, or the best way to maximize healthcare coverage and affordability, their policy positions seem to fall with surprising regularity on opposite sides of the ideological divide that has driven the Republican and Democratic legislative agendas in Washington for decades.
This circumstance may be due in part to the inevitable shift from primary season to the general election, and the consequent need for each nominee to unify his party around a common agenda. But an article in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times confirms my sense that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is currently breaking much new post-partisan ground when it comes to their issue positions. While both candidates are correct when they say that voters will face a stark choice this fall, it is starting to feel like that choice will be the familiar one between liberal and conservative worldviews that has characterized many previous elections. Given the sky-high expectations of voters in this election year, the failure of either candidate to transcend these ideological constraints would be a missed opportunity indeed.

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