"The battle ahead “is the big one, and goes to the very major questions about the role of government,” said G. William Hoagland, a former Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee. “This is going to be a very fundamental clash of ideologies.”The Democratic and Republican Parties have their own internal tensions to address as the debate goes forward in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail. But in its early stages at least, it is liberals who are on the defensive.The aging of the baby boom generation and the costs of maintaining Medicare and Social Security have put the two pillars of the social welfare system on the table for re-examination. The growing weight of the national debt has given urgency to the question of whether the government has become too big and expensive."
The whole Stevenson column is well worth the read.