There may be a few wacky candidates this cycle, but there's nothing "extremist" or "fringe" about worrying about a government seemingly out of control and the threat it creates to our nation's future. If the parties were smart, they'd start giving voters what they're looking for: less taxing and spending, and fewer rocks in the knapsack, as General Powell would say.
For example, any politician who supports extending the Bush tax cuts, whether just to the middle class or to every American, should propose spending cuts to match. Democrats criticize Republicans for not paying for the "tax cut for billionaires," as the president is fond of calling it, and want to know how they'd pay for it. Yet there's a yawning silence when it comes to Democrats explaining how the middle class tax cut would be paid for. Keeping the tax cuts is a good idea, and so is paying for them. That's a no-brainer to most Americans, but apparently not to politicians.
Some lawmakers have started reading the tea leaves. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri have proposed a spending freeze through 2014 on all non-defense discretionary spending. A bipartisan majority of the Senate—every Republican and 17 Democrats—voted in favor of the freeze, but it's fallen short of the 60 votes needed to move it forward. I bet that will change. And I bet reining in entitlements will be next.
"You don't have a solution to a problem in this country unless you have a consensus," former Rep. Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat, told the Washington Post's David Ignatius last week. "Obama is still reaching for that." What Obama doesn't seem to see is that there's already a consensus, a new American mainstream centered on the need for reining in government taxing and spending, ending the squabbling, and reforming entitlements. The White House doesn't realize that the "war" is over. The voters won.