The enormity of last week's super-storm is just beginning to sink into political consciousness. Hurricane Sandy should transform what Americans expect from their government, and give the party of government activism new force. As soon as the election is behind us, the country faces a major struggle over what the super-storm portends and requires. But that struggle will be as much within the Democratic Party as between Democrats and the right, because of the deadweight of austerity politics. If the fix is in for a budget deal that precludes government's ability to spend serious money on climate remediation, flood protection, and a shift to a non-carbon economy, the United States of America is just plain screwed. Few presidents get a do over. Let's see whether Obama grasps the challenge and the possibilities.
Thanks to his exceptional luck in drawing Mitt Romney as his opponent, Barack Obama will probably win a narrow reelection despite the dismal recovery. But on Wednesday morning, a struggle begins within the Democratic Party to save him (and us) from himself -- to keep him from agreeing to a budget deal that will only slow growth, needlessly sacrifice Social Security and Medicare, and make the next four years much like the last four years. What a waste, what a pity. Democrats should be resisting the economic lunacy and political sway of an extremist Republican Party. Instead, they will be working to keep their own president from capitulating to fiscal folly.