Why Obama must be radical

My latest column for National Journal:

One of the things the country likes best about its new president is his taste for consensus. Barack Obama campaigned as a moderate, open to the views of people who disagree with him. His appointments seem to reflect the same attitude: He has chosen mostly centrists, including many veterans of the Clinton administration, with other viewpoints represented too. In planning his fiscal stimulus, Obama made a point of reaching out to Republicans in Congress. This attitude is widely admired, but one must ask whether Obama's preference for moderation, accommodation, and consensus is what these times require.

The economy's plight is extreme. Bold and unusual remedies are needed. This necessary radicalism, if you want to call it that, is not straightforwardly partisan, to be sure. This is not a matter of listening to one particular faction and ignoring everybody else. But at the same time, you cannot get to the right policy merely by trending to the middle and splitting differences between Democrats and Republicans.

You can read the rest here [link expires in a fortnight].