Last week the Boston Globe asked all the Presidential Candidates for “one big idea that the White House hopeful believes would have a major impact on the country if he or she is elected.”
What the various candidates came up with was remarkably underwhelming.
- Restore “cuts” to strengthen the military. Really, Jeb Bush? That’s your big idea?
- Acquire more resources for law enforcement and the intelligence community. Really, Chris Christie? That’s your big idea?
- Install a “simple” flat tax plan. Really, Ted Cruz? That’s your big idea?
- Replace the IRS with a national sales tax. Really, Mike Huckabee? That’s your big idea?
- Impose an across the board 14.5% tax cut. Really, Rand Paul? That’s your big idea?
- Overhaul the higher education accreditation process. Really, Marco Rubio? That’s your big idea?
What this proves is that the Republicans, for one, are completely out of ideas. It puts the lie – as if there was ever any doubt – to the notion that the Republicans have any “new” ideas to offer.
I mean, their last new idea was the individual health insurance mandate, which became the basis of “Obamacare.” And we know how that worked out.
Not that things are much better on the Democratic side of the ledger.
- Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talked about raising middle-class incomes and reducing income inequality. And while those are worthy goals, they’re not exactly “big” or even “new” ideas.
- Martin O’Malley – who will make a fine candidate eight years from now – talked about the need to make college more affordable. Again, a worthy goal, but not exactly a “big” idea.
Free tuition for anyone attending community colleges. Now that’s a reasonably big idea, and one that Obama actually proposed.
But overall, I’d say that our Presidential candidates should go back to the idea factory and see if they can find some newer models than the ones they have.