Friday, January 18, 2013

What kind of Democratic party will decide the 2016 nomination?

Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman have a good read today on a simmering tension in the Democratic party between a moderate wing which concedes that significant entitlement reform is necessary and a more liberal wing that just wants to grow its way out of the issue.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) -- pictured above -- sits in the former camp.

“I hope we’re the party of math,” said Markell, saying of the eventual costs of Medicare and Social Security: “It doesn’t make any sense to put our head in the sand on this issue.”

The Delawarean called reflexive opposition to structural reform in New Deal and Great Society programs is short-sighted.

“It’s easy to try to take the populist approach,” he said. “But in the long run not sustainable. The sooner we figure that out the better.”

Leading liberal, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, is in the latter group.

.... to a progressive stalwart like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) such an idea isn’t just ill-considered — it’s “morally reprehensible.”

“That is such a Washington, Heritage Foundation construction,” Brown said of raising the eligibility age.

Reminded that some of his own colleagues are open to it, he shot back: “They’re wrong.”

So here's the big question -- will Obama move his party in the direction of reform or ignore entitlement reform in the next four years?

If he ignores it, it's hard to see Dems abandoning something that's worked, electorally -- a two-term president who's growing increasingly liberal.

As I wrote yesterday, what party base moves to the middle after a presidential winning streak?

That, of course, bodes well for a more liberal nominee in '16.