Not every issue wreaks havoc. By taking on less divisive problems, politicians could make real progress without spurring outrage.
President Bush hoped to transform the Middle East and end tyranny on planet earth. One of the leading items on his domestic agenda: the privatization of Social Security. President Obama passed a controversial reimagining of the American health care system. In retirement, President Clinton sought to take on AIDS in Africa, while Al Gore set his sights on climate change. And Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), are endeavoring to transform America's system of entitlements. It's perfectly understandable that politicians take on issues that they regard to be most important. But wouldn't it be great if more high profile politicos aimed lower too?
Take Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who yearns to stay relevant. What if she surprised everyone by taking up a relatively uncontroversial issue like patent reform. Given a couple weeks to study up, she could start talking about how the status quo is hated by innovators and does damage to countless small entrepreneurs. The issue could be framed in very tea party friendly ways, and the attendant policy solutions needn't alienate anyone save a small group of patent trolls.