I missed Obama's interview with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, but skimming the transcript, this exchange caught my eye. I'm not sure how much confidence I have in Obama's sincerity here—and it's certainly a smart thing to emphasize when speaking to a Fox News crowd—but this is an encouraging answer:
WALLACE: Over the years, John McCain has broken with his party and risked his career on a number of issues—campaign finance, immigration reform, banning torture.
As a president, can you name a hot-button issue where you would be willing to buck the Democratic Party line and say, "You know what? Republicans have a better idea here?"
OBAMA: Well, I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea.
WALLACE: Such as?
OBAMA: Well, on issues of regulation. I think that back in the '60s and '70s a lot of the way we regulated industry was top-down command and control, we're going to tell businesses exactly how to do things.
And you know, I think that the Republican Party and people who thought about the markets came up with the notion that, "You know what? If you simply set some guidelines, some rules and incentives, for businesses—let them figure out how they're going to, for example, reduce pollution," and a cap and trade system, for example is a smarter way of doing it, controlling pollution, than dictating every single rule that a company has to abide by, which creates a lot of bureaucracy and red tape and oftentimes is less efficient.
I think that on issues of education, I've been very clear about the fact—and sometimes I've gotten in trouble with the teachers' union on this—that we should be experimenting with charter schools. We should be experimenting with different ways of compensating teachers that…
Excepting the cap and trade example, Obama's renunciation of the "top-down command and control" economy is still pretty vague. This could simply mean that he has, say, no interest in returning to pre-1986 Tax Reform Act rates of corporate taxation (which topped out at 46 percent). Regardless, it couldn't possibly be worse than this story on that earmark-loving Senator from Chappaqua, Hillary Clinton. The Hill reports:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has requested nearly $2.3 billion in federal earmarks for 2009, almost three times the largest amount received by a single senator this year.
The Democratic presidential candidate's staggering request comes at a time when Congress remains engaged in a heated debate over spending federal dollars on parochial projects.
It also has gained traction on the campaign trail. Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a longtime foe of earmarks, has called for eliminating what he dubs "wasteful Washington spending." Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has spurned earmarks, seeking no funds for pet projects in the upcoming fiscal year.
Yet Clinton is continuing to request billions for earmarks, most of which will go to her home state.
Last month, anti-earmark crusader Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) stopped by the Reason DC HQ to talk with reason.tv about Cuba, freedom-and Flake's own failure to live by his self-imposed term limit pledge.