Obama can’t waste this moment

Obama can’t waste this moment

[Ed. note: You mean he shouldn’t let this crisis go to waste?]

The key in politics is to snatch victory from the jaws of victory.

The senseless government shutdown has led to a rout of the tea party, right-wing extremism and a Republican leadership that was cowed into a march toward oblivion. But a great deal hangs on what happens next. Will this be a watershed moment? Or do we return to the same dreary politics we were having before this sorry episode?

What needs to happen is a sharp course correction — from an agenda championed by the forces that were beaten in the last election to an engagement with the problems our nation must solve.

It would be an utter waste to revisit the obsessions of 2011 and the presumption that budget cutting and deficit reduction should be the sole priorities of the political class. Recall that Rep. Paul Ryan was the other member of the Republican ticket that lost last year. Ryan’s proposal to slash spending played a central role in Mitt Romney’s defeat.

The United States should build, not just cut. We should invest again in an infrastructure whose decayed condition ought to shame us. We should deal with high ongoing unemployment, reverse the rise of inequality, and give poor and working-class kids real opportunities for upward mobility.

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