Micah Meadowcroft offers a few policy proposals that should sidestep obvious partisan divisions.
Let’s get the criticism out of the way first. Column writing is about as theoretical as it gets in politics, perhaps more theoretical even than writing white papers at a think tank. As Theodore Roosevelt once put it, “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” True. One advantage a columnist has over a think tank paper pusher, though, is that he can make a policy proposal without having to pretend to be a professional (read: academic prose and consultantese) or preemptively bury the idea beneath layers of bureaucracy.
The columnist can simply suggest that some things may be worth considering, that certain goals might circumvent the normal way of thinking about public things and be, with bipartisan appeal, low-hanging fruit. This is, admittedly, policy in the sense of cause and objects, theoretical. For the details of putting theory into practice and doing the deeds, we may be forced to wait for some Henry V, who, in the words of Shakespeare’s Canterbury, if you, “Turn him to any cause of policy, The Gordian knot of it he will unloose, Familiar as his garter.” But, in the meantime, here are a few ideas.